Asians finally have drugs ‘perfectly tailored’ to their genetics

chinese family

For decades, much of the pipeline of medical innovation has flowed from West to East. Now a string of companies are attempting to upend that trend with new drugs and products tailored to Asian bodies and lifestyles.

There’s the Singapore-based drugmaker tackling an obscure cancer that’s rare in the West but common in Asia, where it’s been linked to a popular fish dish. Med-tech startups are preparing to sell tests to detect tumors more accurately in Asian women with denser breast tissue, including one wearable device that slips into a bra. Even Big Pharma firms like AstraZeneca Plc and Roche Holding AG now have drugs targeting a lung cancer-causing mutation most often found in women from East Asia.

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Diseases and their cures can sometimes work differently in different populations, and a one-size-fits-all regimen tailored to the West isn’t sufficient. The approach is cropping up most often in cancer care in Asia, home to tumors that are rare in the West.

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“The patients are here, the tumor samples are here, and also the basic know-how,” said Brigette Ma, a professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong who specializes in new drug development. “By acknowledging diversity, not just in cultural and economic needs — by acknowledging diversity in terms of cancer care — we are getting the drugs to where they are needed.”

Read full, original post: Asian Patients (Finally) Have Medicines Designed for Them

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