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PHARMACOGENOMICS


INTRODUCTION
Pharmacogenomics is the study of how an individual's genetic inheritance affects the
body's response to drugs. The term comes from the words pharmacology and genomics and is
thus the intersection of pharmaceuticals and genetics. Pharmacogenomics holds the promise
that drugs might one day be tailor-made for individuals and adapted to each person's own
genetic makeup. Environment, diet, age, lifestyle, and state of health all can influence a
person's response to medicines, but understanding an individual's genetic makeup is
thought to be the key to creating personalized drugs with greater efficacy and safety.

Pharmacogenomics combines traditional pharmaceutical sciences such as biochemistry with
annotated knowledge of genes, proteins, and single nucleotide polymorphisms.


BENEFITS OF PHARMACOGENOMICS
1- More Powerful Medicines
Pharmaceutical companies will be able to create drugs based on the proteins, enzymes, and
RNA molecules associated with genes and diseases. This will facilitate drug discovery and
allow drug makers to produce a therapy more targeted to specific diseases. This accuracy
not only will maximize therapeutic effects but also decrease damage to nearby healthy
cells.

2- Better, Safer Drugs the First Time
Instead of the standard trial-and-error method of matching patients with the right drugs,
doctors will be able to analyze a patient's genetic profile and prescribe the best
available drug therapy from the beginning. Not only will this take the guesswork out of
finding the right drug, it will speed recovery time and increase safety as the likelihood
of adverse reactions is eliminated. Pharmacogenomics has the potential to dramatically
reduce the the estimated 100,000 deaths and 2 million hospitalizations that occur each
year in the United States as the result of adverse drug response (1).

3- More Accurate Methods of Determining Appropriate Drug Dosages
Current methods of basing dosages on weight and age will be replaced with dosages based on
a person's genetics --how well the body processes the medicine and the time it takes to
metabolize it. This will maximize the therapy's value and decrease the likelihood of
overdose.

4- Advanced Screening for Disease

Knowing one's genetic code will allow a person to make adequate lifestyle and
environmental changes at an early age so as to avoid or lessen the severity of a genetic
disease. Likewise, advance knowledge of a particular disease susceptibility will allow
careful monitoring, and treatments can be introduced at the most appropriate stage to
maximize their therapy.

5- Better Vaccines
Vaccines made of genetic material, either DNA or RNA, promise all the benefits of existing
vaccines without all the risks. They will activate the immune system but will be unable to
cause infections. They will be inexpensive, stable, easy to store, and capable of being
engineered to carry several strains of a pathogen at once.

Improvements in the Drug Discovery and Approval Process
Pharmaceutical companies will be able to discover potential therapies more easily using
genome targets. Previously failed drug candidates may be revived as they are matched with
the niche population they serve. The drug approval process should be facilitated as trials
are targeted for specific genetic population groups --providing greater degrees of
success. The cost and risk of clinical trials will be reduced by targeting only those
persons capable of responding to a drug.

6- Decrease in the Overall Cost of Health Care
Decreases in the number of adverse drug reactions, the number of failed drug trials, the
time it takes to get a drug approved, the length of time patients are on medication, the
number of medications patients must take to find an effective therapy, the effects of a
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