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Time Trials

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Time Trials

Chronotherapy – the specific timing of drug delivery – has shown promise in clinical trials. But that may not be enough to overcome the practical challenges.


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Chronotherapy ensures that drugs are delivered in the right amount and at the right time.

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Doctors may prescribe drugs for specific times of the day to get better outcomes. Heartburn, high blood pressure and erectile dysfunction drugs work best when patients take them at certain times of day. Even surgeries and procedures can have peak performance times. Researchers are experimenting with time-of-day regimens from cancer trials to cardiac surgery. Scientists who discovered circadian rhythms and cell regulation won the Nobel Prize. Science writer Lynne Peeples explores the landscape of chronotherapy, which will enthrall those who herald the next wave of precision medicine.


Chronotherapy or chronomedicine is the timing of drug delivery.

The time when a patient takes a drug or has surgery can affect his or her outcome. A patient’s circadian rhythm influences certain disease processes such as inflammation. The circadian clock governs disease expression. The body’s “central timekeeper” in the hypothalamus regulates the peripheral clocks in the other organs and tissues.

The central clock turns genes on and off, controlling cell cycles and enzymes that affect cell growth, death and...

About the Author

Lynne Peeples is a science writer from Seattle, Washington.

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