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Quest Diagnostics Introduces Comprehensive Opioid Therapy Genetic Test Based On CYP450 Biomarker License With Transgenomic

MADISON, N.J., Aug. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Quest Diagnostics (NYSE: DGX), the world's leading provider of diagnostic information services, today announced the availability of a new lab-developed genetic test to aid the delivery of personalized opioid pain-relieving treatment. It is believed to be the first clinical lab to offer testing for variants in all cytochrome P450 (CYP450) genes known to influence the CYP450 enzyme system, which affects metabolism of opioids and other medications.

(Logo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130717/NY48934LOGO)

The test is based in part on gene variants owned by Transgenomic, Inc. (OTCBB: TBIO) through a non-exclusive licensing agreement between the two companies. Quest Diagnostics developed, validated and now offers the test service through its advanced Nichols Institute facility in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. Additional terms were not disclosed.

More than 100 million Americans in the United States suffer from chronic pain. Opioids, which include oxycodone and methadone, are widely used in the management of moderate to severe pain. While opioids are the most widely prescribed class of medications in the United States, they are also implicated in high rates of drug addiction and overdose.

Research demonstrates that genetic testing to identify gene variants that mediate the CYP450 enzyme system can help physicians predict the rate of opioid drug metabolism. With this information, physicians can decide to adjust doses or administer other therapies in order to improve the prospect for effective pain relief and reduce the likelihood of drug toxicity, drug interactions and other adverse outcomes.

"Genetic testing to personalize the use of pain-alleviating drug therapies is an exciting new clinical field with tremendous potential to promote favorable outcomes for the many millions of individuals struggling with pain," said Charles (Buck) Strom, MD, PhD, senior medical director, Genetics, Quest Diagnostics. "Opioids can be very effective pain-alleviating medications, but they are also powerful and potentially dangerous drugs carrying a high risk of addiction, toxicity and other adverse effects. The inclusion of Transgenomic's gene discoveries into our genetic testing services will provide physicians with greater insights for safely and effectively administering opioid treatment." 

"The vast majority of differences in liver enzyme activity are due to genetic variation between individuals, differences that can cause a drug or metabolite to leave the body too rapidly or remain in the body too long," said Craig Tuttle, chief executive officer of Transgenomic.  "Quest Diagnostics' strong record of innovation in genetic testing and relationships with physicians makes them well suited to maximize the value of our gene discoveries as new clinical tests for advancing the field of pain management."

Quest Diagnostics is a leader in clinical and workplace drug toxicology test services. The company's services aid the clinical management of patients prescribed opioids, narcotics and other medications as well as employer screening for workplace drug misuse. The company also produces original research on prescription drug trends as part of its series of Quest Diagnostics Health Trends reports, which provide insights into critical health issues based on the company's national testing data. For more visit www.QuestDiagnostics.com/HealthTrends.

About Quest Diagnostics   Quest Diagnostics is the world's leading provider of diagnostic information services that patients and doctors need to make better healthcare decisions. The company offers the broadest access to diagnostic information services through its network of laboratories and patient service centers, and provides interpretive consultation through its extensive medical and scientific staff. Quest Diagnostics is a pioneer in developing innovative diagnostic tests and advanced healthcare information technology solutions that help improve patient care. Additional company information is available at QuestDiagnostics.com. Follow us at Facebook.com/QuestDiagnostics and Twitter.com/QuestDX .

Quest, Quest Diagnostics, and all associated Quest Diagnostics registered or unregistered trademarks are the property of Quest Diagnostics. All third-party marks are the property of their respective owners.  

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