Fairview Health Services is teaming up with Minnesota Cup finalist Geneticure LLC to conduct a yearlong, 800-person study that will analyze how treatment plans personalized to a patient’s genetic code can help treat high blood pressure.
 
Minneapolis-based Fairview said it would be the largest prospective study of personalized medicine for the treatment of high blood pressure ever conducted.
 
“The implications for the nation’s health are staggering,” said Bob Beacher, president of shared clinical services at Fairview. “Uncontrolled hypertension [otherwise known as high blood pressure] contributes to strokes, coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease. The findings from this research could transform the health of an entire population.”
 
About 75 million American adults—or 29 percent of the population—suffer from high blood pressure, a condition in which the force of the blood against artery walls is too high. Often referred to as the “silent killer,” the cost of health care services, medications and missed days of work related to high blood pressure cost the U.S. $46 billion in 2011, according to the most recent statistics reported by the American Heart Association.
 
“We believe we can dramatically cut the time, cost and side effects involved in managing high blood pressure,” said Dang Tran, Fairview’s vice president of medical practice and the principal investigator for the study.
 
To develop personalized treatments, Fairview will use DNA extraction kits from Minnetonka-based Geneticure. The kits, which use a check swab to gather genetic information, can then inform a Fairview doctor of the types of drug (and how much of that drug) should be used to most effectively treat a patient’s case of hypertension.
 
Fairview said the research trial would begin for qualified patients in the coming weeks. Those patients will receive care at one of Fairview’s eight clinics until January of next year.

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