Authors

Leslie Tucker

Document Type

Report

Publication Date

1-28-2008

Abstract

Researchers are exploring how genetic variations among individuals may help explain why a drug can work well in some people and poorly (or not at all) in others, including those who appear to have the same disease. Pharmacogenomics, as this new field is called, aims to help physicians make use of genetic tests to distinguish among patients whose genetic characteristics predispose them to respond in certain ways to certain medicines. If physicians can use this information to quickly and reliably choose the appropriate drug at the most effective dose for each patient, they may produce better patient outcomes and save health care dollars. An understanding of the genetic variables that influence drug response could also help pharmaceutical companies design new, more effective therapies. Although it is early in the development of pharmacogenomics, there are indications that this promising new technology has begun to challenge public policies to keep pace. Issues surrounding the safety, access, cost, and ethical dimensions of new clinical genetic tests and targeted drug therapies will need to be addressed if pharmacogenomics is to fulfill its potential. Conceptually, few of the issues raised by pharmacogenomics are unique to the field—or even to genetics—but all will have to be considered explicitly in the context of this new technology.

Open Access

yes

 
 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.