Warfarin Dosing and Genetic Variation
Introduction Warfarin is an anticoagulant used to prevent the blood from forming dangerous clots that could result in stroke. Determining the most effective and safest dose for each patient is extremely complicated and time consuming as warfarin metabolism varies greatly between patients and is affected by diet, activity, and the taking of other drugs. Patients require an average of 18 visits over 10 months in order to achieve the correct dose. The technology described here can be applied towards a more efficient and more cost-effective means of determining an appropriate warfarin dose. Technology description The vitamin K epoxide reductase gene (VKORC1) encodes a protein necessary for the synthesis of many coagulation factors in the body. Warfarin inhibits this enzyme, thereby inhibiting coagulation. Scientists at the UW have identified common mutations (SNPs) within the VKORC1 gene that are significantly associated with warfarin dose—2 were associated with the need for a low dose of warfarin while 2 were associated with a need for a high dose of warfarin. Business opportunity In 2003, a total of 21.2 million warfarin prescriptions were written in the US alone. The average cost of clinic visits over a 10-month period was approximately $300 per patient. It’s been estimated that the cost of monitoring warfarin therapy could exceed $300 million annually in the US. However, the number of patients prescribed warfarin could increase significantly if dosing was less complex. Stage of development Statistical significance of the warfarin dosing haplotypes has been accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Intellectual property position The UW has applied for protection of both US and international patent rights.
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