Fri, Feb 20, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Academia Sinica team contributes to medical formula

RISKY BUSINESSPatients who take too much of an anticoagulant may suffer from massive bleeding, but too little may fail to prevent cardiovascular disease

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Two scientists from Academia Sinica have contributed to delivering an easy formula that helps ensure patients take the appropriate dose of the anticoagulant Warfarin.

The drug is often prescribed for patients suffering from thrombosis, the main cause of cardiovascular diseases. However, many doctors find it difficult to determine the proper amount and can only administer the drug based on experience.

Patients who take too much Warfarin may suffer from massive bleeding, whereas an inadequate amount may fail to prevent cardiovascular disease.

Research fellow Chen Yuan-tsong (陳垣崇), assistant research scientist Lee Ming-da (李明達) and Wen Ming-shien (溫明賢) of Chang Gung Memorial Hospital joined a research team from nine countries around the world to help produce a formula that will enable doctors to more accurately prescribe the appropriate amount for their patients.

The research results were published yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The team was listed first among all the research teams. Lee said all the collected samples were delivered to Academic Sinica for examination and analysis because the institute is more advanced in studies of VKORC1 and CYPC2C, which have been identified as two crucial genes in helping determine the correct dosage of Warfarin.

The formula has now been adopted by doctors in Chang Gung Hospital, National Taiwan University Hospital and other medical centers. Starting next year, the general public can also download the formula from a designated Web site and calculate dosages themselves after entering in the required numbers.

Despite the formula, Lee said that patients would still need to take blood tests regularly to ensure the drug’s effectiveness.

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