Editorials

Pharmacogenetics

BMJ 2001; 322 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.322.7293.1007 (Published 28 April 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:1007

Industry and academic researchers must collaborate to deliver its benefits

  1. Alun McCarthy, European head ([email protected])
  1. Drug Development Genetics, GlaxoSmithKline, Greenford, Middlesex UB6 0HE

    To realise the potential of genetics research concerted activity by both academic and industry researchers is needed. Currently the research conducted by the pharmaceutical industry centres on two main strands: new drug development and pharmacogenetics.1

    Pharmacogenetics aims at understanding how genetic variation contributes to variations in response to medicines. The variation that exists in all genes causes different members of a population to express different forms of proteins, including those that metabolise drugs or are the sites of drug action. This can lead to different responses to these drugs. Measuring the DNA differences can thus predict the variation in response to the medicine.1 In the past, systematic research into the basis of adverse drug reactions has been hampered by the fact that these events are rare and individuals are difficult to trace and study while suffering a reaction. The ability to conduct genetic research retrospectively, at the end of a clinical trial or after a medicine has been launched, using stored samples of DNA, gives researchers a powerful new tool …

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