ÄLY Seminar 20/3/2018

Ä.L.Y. stands for Intelligent Personalized Medicine – this event truly lived up to its name.

Has to be said, that I had my expectations set high regarding this event. When you put together the top of the range speakers from the field of intelligent medication, 3D medical printing, and genotype-specific medicine, the result cannot be anything but marvelous.

Based on the organizer’s website, it took even them by surprise of how fast the seats were booked and pre-registration was full. It goes to show that this topic is a hot potato and that we have seen nothing yet!

As we arrived in the auditorium of Biomedicum the agenda for the day kept up with the previously set high standards. Teemu Arina, who refers to himself as a Biohacker, acted as the moderator and led us to a vision of functional and personalized medicine. Ten years ago, the things I heard in this event would have belonged to a sci-fi movie. Today, they are a reality. A robot that operates a surgical operation? Believe it or not, it has been done with a great success!

By far the hottest topic for me was right at the beginning as Professor Mikko Niemi elaborate the vast opportunities in the advanced utilization of genetic information in personalized medicine. Pharmacogenetics does right that. Unfortunately, I was so wrapped up into the speech of the senior physician of HUBLAB, that I totally forgot to take down notes – fingers crossed there will be a video published of the event. Follow our social media for this information!

By giving us examples, Prof. Niemi elaborated the benefits of pharmacogenetics testing. One tragic one took place in North America, where a breastfeeding mother was given Codein for post-delivery pain. The few-week-old infant past away very sudden. In the postmortem it was discovered that the reason was overdose of morphine. As the investigation progressed, the reason was that the mother had an enzyme called CYP2D6, that reacted ultra-fast for codein. As codein is a medication, that is broken down in the liver where it turns into morphine. The individuals that have ultra-fast CYP2D6 should not consume codein, as it turns into morphine too fast in their system. Through the mother’s breastmilk the baby received morphine which was lethal.

8% of the Finnish population carry an ultra-fast CYP2D6 – and this is just one example of many.

Mikko Niemi also covered the economical-issue of pharmacogenetical testing. If the testing would be conducted regularly with specified medication, the economical savings would be hundreds of millions. Makes me wonder, how this is not yet in all clinical use?

“96 % is effected by a genetic modification regarding medication.”

– Prof. Mikko Niemi

Another topic that seemed quite futuristic at first, was the 3D printing of medication. Niklas Sandler from Åbo Akademi brough light into such fascinating issue. The way personalized medicine is truly personal as each medication unit is printed, layer by layer to compliment the unique needs of an individual. The way I put together one plus one, was that as an individual’s genotype is discovered by pharmacogenetics testing the personalized medication can be printed. Effective and safe!

One thing that left me a little cold, was the fact that a lady literally next to my seat won a pharmacogenetics test… Why not me…

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