What is Pharmacogenetics and Stratified Medicine?
Pharmacogenetics is a relatively new field of science which studies how a person’s genetic make up affect their response to particular drugs. By understanding this in more detail doctors hope to be able to choose effective and safe medications tailored to each individual’s genetic differences in metabolic pathways. Scientists are learning how inherited differences in genes affect the body’s response to medications by employing the knowledge gained from the Human Genome Project. These genetic differences can then be used to predict whether a medication will be effective for a particular person, for example by significantly lowering their blood pressure or lipid levels, while helping to avoid a medication likely to cause them to have an unwanted “side-effect” of an adverse drug reaction. Stratified Medicine means looking at large groups of patients to try and find ways of predicting which treatments are likely to be efficient and the most effective.
Pharmacogenetics is still in its infancy. In the future, pharmacogenetics will allow the development of tailored drugs to treat a wide range of health problems, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, malaria, and other common diseases. When targeted treatments become available; patients will be able to choose to have genetic tests that can help doctors decide the most suitable treatment for them. This is one step towards something called “Personalised Medicine”.
Page last modified on 09 may 12 11:56