Doctors at Mayo Clinic have developed a new field of research called vaccinomics.
By Caryn Talty
They hope to utilize gene testing to find out which patients are most at risk of getting a particular disease and who will benefit from the vaccine. This topic is one of several that will be discussed at the Ninth Annual World Vaccine Congress that will be held April 20-23 in Washington D.C.
According to Dr. Gregory Poland, Professor of Medicine and Infectious Disease, College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic:
“The time may come when we will know beforehand whether or not a vaccine will work ahead of time. We know with certain drugs that if you carry certain genes that means that drug could harm you or you might metabolize the drug so fast that the typical dose wouldn’t do you any good at all and we would have to give you double the dose.
That’s the idea of individualized practice of medicine. Applying that to vaccines now, we have published several times now this new direction… the idea that we would take a genetic screening and from that be able to predict things like, ‘Is this person at risk of this disease?’ ‘Do we even need to give them a vaccine?’ ‘If we gave them a vaccine, how likely are they to respond to it?’ ‘Do they need one dose, two doses, three doses? Double the dose?’ ‘If we give this vaccine, this biologic to somebody, are they likely to have some sort of serious reaction to the vaccine, as rare as that is?’
“Nevertheless, there are documented cases. They may occur one in a million times of somebody getting a live viral vaccine for example, and having a significant complication to that. What if we could predict that? And the promise of genetics and of individualized medicine it is pretty clear that we will probably be able to predict some if not all of those. We are just at the very early stages of figuring out how that might all work….”