As a professional in the field of pharmacogenomics, I spend a lot of time talking about how to pronounce that word and what it actually means. As I’ve written about at length, it simply describes the study of how a person’s genetic composition affects they way various drugs or medications are metabolized. While its long been known that different people respond to the same stimulus differently, the field of study truly erupted in the 1960s and has since been applied to personalized medicine for those suffering from cancers and other intense illnesses.
But move over, pharmacogenomics, there’s a new player in town. While the study of how a perosn’s genes impact the way they react to drugs is important, there’s a crucial step in between the actual DNA itself and the breakdown of a drug — the protein. DNA itself is nothing but an instruction manual for the cell to read and manufacture various proteins. Even after the “instructions” have been read, the resulting protein can vary in shape, function, and form for a grab-bag of reasons. As such, while the study of genes is still an urgent one, so is the study of the proteins those genes code for. Enter pharmacoproteomics.
The field of proteomics has been around for centuries as the study of the proteins that execute tasks in the body. Humans can have up to 2 million different varieties of proteins in their bodies at one time, all in charge of different tasks.
Pharmacoproteomics, then, is a broad term that describes how drugs and proteins interact and affect each other’s function. Drugs can radically influence a protein’s ability to do its job by changing its shape, changing its environment, or disabling it altogether. By the same token, a protein may change a drug’s efficacy by metabolizing it in a way that prevents it from taking the desired effect.
This relatively new field is going to zero in even further on ways that we can tailor medicines to a person’s unique makeup. While small still, pharmacoproteomics may shed some light on even more of the reasons drugs work differently on different people and help us make more people well.
Since the 1960s, the field of pharmacogenomics has blossomed. Researchers are daily discovering how a person’s genes and genome impact how they metabolize and react to various stimuli, including drugs and medicines. Although these discoveries have been most intensely applied to oncology, they’ve found a happy audience in children’s medicines, cardiovascular treatments, and even cures for the common cold.
The hangup for many of these fields has been the incredible cost of getting the proper genetic information to adjust a prescription or dosage suggestion on a patient by patient basis. Heretofore, getting that data has proven costly and time consuming and not for any incredible benefit to a large enough population to take off. In addition, there has been no collective database for housing all this information so that doctors can easily search diseases or conditions and find a list of the genes they need to account for when they consider prescribing medications.
However, modern developments in technology have driven down the cost significantly, leading to the increased feasibility of folding in this information into regular healthcare practices. Researchers at Avera Health are in the process of developing the GenFolio, a comprehensive searchable encyclopaedia. It’s functionality is simple: after testing a person’s genome from either a blood or saliva sample, GeneFolio produces an actionable plan for physicians to use to treat various maladies, from psychiatric disorders to cardiovascular problems.
Among the most popular modern buzzwords, up there with “millennial” and “leadership” is “transparency.” Especially with the dense thicket of jargon that surrounds the medical industry and political sphere, more and more individuals are calling for transparency regarding where money is coming from and going and who has a say in that movement. Of course, the field of pharmacogenomics is no different. With the importance of the data being handled and the technicalities of what happens, it’s absolutely urgent that clinics are open and transparent about what they’re doing with the money and data they have.
The US Department of Justice made an example out of a clinic that failed that remain honest and transparent regarding the whereabouts of its money. Noting a violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute, the DOJ settled for $3.5 million against Primex Clinical Laboratories and fined its CEO an additional $270,000. Two whistleblowers who were former employees of the company alerted the Justice Department as to the issues occurring at the company.
In the 1970s, Congress passed the Anti-Kickback Statute as a prevention measure against fraud against the US healthcare system. The statute explicitly prohibits any laboratory from offering doctors “remuneration” for patient referrals to keep everyone in the industry honest. Without the statute, Congress anticipated that clinics and other medical labs would pay doctors to send patients to them.
In the case of Primex Clinical Laboratories, the executives skirted the laws and offered cash incentives for doctors to send their patients’ DNA their direction, and offered an additional bonus if the DNA turned up anything of interest. After a thorough investigation, the DOJ decided that the incentives were against the law, and today, they’re paying a hefty fine as retribution.
It’s important to run a medical laboratory with the precision, accuracy, and respect for the law that’s necessary for a place of business and a place of repute. Transparency in procedures, finances, and legal matters is imperative to ongoing positive relationships with doctors, patients, and regulators.
Hailing from North Palm Beach, Michael Harper is a highly accomplished business professional serving North Palm Beach, Florida, and Juno Beach, Florida. He has amassed over 15 years of experience within the areas of sales management, sales training, business development, and entrepreneurship.
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Over the past several years, Michael has begun to specialize almost exclusively in the clinical laboratory and diagnostic testing space. He currently serves as an Account Manager between clinical laboratories and healthcare providers. This line of work includes a variety of specialized blood testing, genetic testing, and much more. Michael Harper’s North Palm Beach and Juno Beach clients make up the largest percentage of his clientele, but the breadth of his services reaches all throughout Florida.
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Michael has truly enjoyed this new, exciting undertaking as it has been a pleasure to work in an environment where there is a constant and ever-growing need to deliver timely and precise testing results to patients and healthcare providers. As Harper contends, the healthcare industry is a “people” service. That is why Michael Harper North Palm Beach prides himself on going the extra mile for his clients, ensuring that each patient gets the best possible care available. In laboratory testing, there is nothing more important than delivering accurate results and superior service to the physicians and providers.
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Michael Harper is excited about what the future holds for the healthcare industry, specifically laboratory testing. He has been privy to the factual evidence that shows the industry is on the cusp of some incredible breakthroughs that will forever change the way we perform laboratory testing. As more doctors and scientists find their way down to Florida, more developments that will keep individuals from succumbing to addiction will find a market.
For healthcare providers and patients alike, the level of efficiency and effectiveness is nothing shy of impressive. Michael Harper North Palm Beach has already begun to see many of these changes take place. For years, blood tests have required six tubes of blood to be drawn. Nowadays, Michael is beginning to see the rollout of FDA-approved blood tests that require nothing more than a finger prick. This is just one example of the many revolutionary changes that our currently in development and soon to be introduced to the public.
Outside of his professional endeavors, Michael Harper’s North Palm Beach ties make him a dedicated philanthropist who cares deeply about supporting and giving back to the community. He credits his faith as the driving force behind his commitment to philanthropy. While he supports a wide range of causes, Michael is most passionate about St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Christ Fellowship Church in Palm Beach Gardens. When it comes time to relax, Michael enjoys taking advantage of all that the great state of Florida has to offer.