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Microarrays: One Step Closer to Personalized Medicine

By Blondell Peterson
June 2005

Dr. Brenda Weis
Brenda Weis

Dr. Brenda Weis, NIEHS Toxicogenomics Research Consortium TRC Coordinator, received national media coverage as spokesperson for the TRC microarrays study conducted by 64 renowned scientists. NIEHS Director, Dr. David Schwartz is one of the authors featured in the paper publication on Nature.

The study brings us one step closer to personalized medical treatment-that is medical treatment tailored to each person's unique genetic make-up and medical condition. Microarrays are gene chips that allow scientists to see how differences in gene expression are linked to specific diseases. Improving and standardizing microarray experiments will also allow earlier detection of diseases like cancer.

Weis was a featured speaker on a National Public Radio morning edition broadcast May 4 with Nell Boyce. The story was called, "Improving Gene Chips."

It focused on the fact that when results were compared from seven labs that used the same chip, and scientists got the same results only 20% of the time, it was cause for concern. Researchers then found that this happened because each lab had its own way of doing things.

In the interview Weis said, "When labs were told to carefully follow the exact same set of procedures, we were able to achieve a very high level of consistency across the labs up to the high 90s percent."

In addition to NPR, Weis was quoted in the May 6 edition of "Harvard Focus," which reaches 15,000 researchers and physicians. The front page of the May 6 issue can be found online at http://focus.hms.harvard.edu , or you may link directly to the story at http://focus.hms.harvard.edu/2005/May6_2005/comp_bio.shtml.

WTOP, a popular Washington, DC radio station for traffic, weather and news featured Dr. Weis also.

"The Scientist" will feature a story on this study, which will include remarks from Drs. Schwartz, Weis and others.



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