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Game Changing Genetic Testing Part of New Approach to Stroke Care in Tayside

NHS ‘marking own homework’ over complaints

Stoke patients in Highland Perthshire will now be able to benefit from a game changing approach to stroke care being used by NHS Tayside. The pioneering genetic test starts with a simple blood sample and will help clinicians decide which treatment will work best to prevent further strokes.

NHS Tayside is leading the way with this approach called precision medicine which is moving away from a one size fits all to a more tailored approach, with treatments customised to individual patients and their unique genetic make-up.

Speaking about the news treatment Consultant Stroke Physician Dr Alex Doney said: “Genetic testing to ensure a particular treatment is safe and effective has actually been around for many years. Matching a patient’s blood group ahead of an operation is a very well-established example of using genetic information to select the most appropriate treatment which is something the public will be familiar with. 

“What we are doing here in Tayside now in the treatment of stroke involves a drug called Clopidogrel which is a widely prescribed medicine which prevents further blood clots from forming. Studies have identified that up to 25% of patients will not receive the same benefit from this medication in the first months after a stroke due to the way their body processes it. This means they are at greater risk of further strokes. The information contained in the genes can indicate if a patient is in the 25% group and, if so, doctors can select an alternative medication for them.

“NHS Tayside’s genetic testing of stroke patients through a simple blood test is the first step towards translating clinical research into much wider use of genetic information in everyday healthcare which will help make routinely prescribed medicines more safe and effective for individual patients.”

One of the first patients in Tayside to be managed on the new stroke pathway was Mr Anderson from Perth,

He is now recovering at home but shared his experience saying: “I felt privileged to be one of the first patients in Tayside to be involved in this new approach. It really is a step into the future and one that will benefit patients in the coming months and years. It is quite amazing that a simple blood test can show if my medication is working as effectively as possible and it is reassuring that my medication can be tailored more precisely to me.”

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