Each week we will aim to bring out a concise email that provides 4-5 key pieces of information addressing a specific issue in clinical therapeutics.
This week: Pharmacogenomics (part 1)
Officially launched in 1990, the Human Genome Project was arguably the largest and most complex biological investigation in the history of mankind. The goal was to determine the sequence of nucleotide base pairs that make up human DNA, and to identify and map all of the genes, a task declared complete in 2003.
- The findings suggest that 99.9% of the information in approximately 20,000 human genes shared by all human is identical for all people, with only 0.1% of genetic information unique to each individual. These small differences account for the myriad of inter-individual variations in the human phenotype – observable characteristics of an individual resulting from the interaction of genotype with the environment.
- One of the ways in which the sequencing of the genome has impacted medical practice has been the rise of pharmacogenomics – this is the scientific approach to understanding how an individual’s genetic disposition influences the safety and effectiveness of drug treatment for that person.
- Although still a developing science, pharmacogenomics has a promising future and is already delivering important advances in the way medications are used. The clinical applications of pharmacogenomics are already in use in various ways, and will have greatly increased impact over the coming decade.
Please consider these issues when preparing or interpreting RMMR reports or education sessions. Contributions of content or suggested topics are welcome and should be sent directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.