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Tuesday, April 11, 2000

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The British Medical Journal Science, medicine, and the future: Pharmacogenetics
"Pharmacogenetic testing may provide the first example of a mechanism whereby DNA based testing can be applied to populations, but we are still a long way from having a pharmacogenetic DNA chip that general practitioners can use to identify all the drugs to which any particular patient is sensitive. However, there is increasing evidence that pharmacogenetics will be extremely important in the health service. One day it may be considered unethical not to carry out such tests routinely to avoid exposing individuals to doses of drugs that could be harmful to them. The ability to identify sensitive individuals, either before drug treatment or after an adverse drug response would also be of economic importance as it would avoid the empiricism associated with matching the most appropriate drug at its optimal dose for each patient. It might also substantially reduce the need for hospitalisation, and its associated costs, because of adverse drug reactions.

Our increasing knowledge of the mechanisms of drug action, the identification of new drug targets and the understanding of genetic factors that determine our response to drugs may allow us to design drugs that are specifically targeted towards particular populations or that avoid genetic variability in therapeutic response. The extent of genetic polymorphism in the human population indicates that pharmacogenetic variability will probably be an issue for most new drugs.

The development of pharmacogenetics provides at least one mechanism for taking prescription away from its current empiricism and progressing towards more "individualised" drug treatment. In view of the momentum that pharmacogenetics is developing, it is essential that the subject is taught as part of the medical student curriculum."
Wired Designer Drugs First HGP App
"New research reinforces that testing individuals to predict how they will respond to drugs will change the face of medicine in less than five years. A pair of British researchers claim that pharmacogenomics, the field of study that promises to measure, interpret, and understand variations in peoples' genes, will be one of the first practical applications to benefit from the Human Genome Project."

"In England, one in 15 hospital admissions is due to an adverse drug reaction, and in the United States, a study found that about 106,000 patients die and 2.2 million are injured every year by bad reactions to prescription drugs, according to the report."

[ rhetoric ]

Bioinformatics will be at the core of biology in the 21st century. In fields ranging from structural biology to genomics to biomedical imaging, ready access to data and analytical tools are fundamentally changing the way investigators in the life sciences conduct research and approach problems. Complex, computationally intensive biological problems are now being addressed and promise to significantly advance our understanding of biology and medicine. No biological discipline will be unaffected by these technological breakthroughs.


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