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Recent Advances in Pharmacogenomics and 7 benefits

The term Pharmacogenomics comes from Pharmacology & Genetics. It is the study of how a gene affects the person’s response to drugs. The importance of Pharmacogenomics is to maximize the therapeutic efficacy and to minimize the drug toxicity in an individual patient.
The therapeutic response of a drug varies from person to person. Some people show a tremendously effective response to the same drug while others will show a less therapeutic effect or side effects. The drug is metabolized by the body and its response is determined by genes as these genes affect the machinery responsible for metabolizing the drug. The understanding of genetics and drug metabolism help the doctor to determine the kind of drug & dose effective for an individual patient with lesser side-effects.


Pharmacogenomics is based on the fact that one drug does not work for all. The response towards a single drug varies a lot. There was not any system which can personalize the drug and pharmaceutical companies were developing the drug which fits for all. Many people suffer from adverse drug reaction (ADR) or even mortality if the ADR is severe. So, Pharmacogenomics is the answer to reduce the adverse drug reaction, and personalize the treatment.
Here DNA test is used to analyze one’s genes and receptor to affect the drug response. This technique is helpful in personalizing the treatment of various diseases.

Testing of genes like CYP2C9, CYP2C19, TPMT and VKORC1 could promote personalized treatment of patients with morbid conditions like Heart disease, cancer, epilepsy, hypertension and stroke.

Recent Advances in Pharmacogenomics
  1. Overcoming graft rejections-Pharmacogenomics integrates individual genetic information with the pathophysiology of disease, pharmacokinetic drug disposition, and disease outcomes. For example, in renal transplant, the study of genetics for both the donor and recipient is important to reduce the chances of graft rejection and to improve the surgery outcome. A recent study has come up where pharmacogenomics helps in providing personalized treatment to the patients and leads to lesser rejections during grafting procedures and further treatment.
  2. Treatment of Lung cancer-Pharmacogenomics approach benefits the patients suffering from cancer by matching their tumor and individual genetic profile. It helps the clinicians to develop the targeted anticancer therapy to treat the patient.\ 
  3. Treatment of Colorectal cancer-Irinotecan is a type of chemotherapy used to treat the colon cancer. UGT1A1 enzyme is responsible for metabolizing this drug. In some persons, the shortage of this enzyme occurs. With this shortage, the higher level of a drug remains in the body which can lead to life-threatening side effects. By using Pharmacogenomics approach, doctors perform UGT1A1 test to detect the genetic variations. In this way, Doctor can titrate the dose of the drug and can prevent the patient from its harmful effects.
  4. Treatment of Non-Alcoholic fatty liver disease ( NAFLD)- Various personalized treatments are being developed to treat NAFLD by studying polymorphism of NAFLD associated genes as they influence the choice and the success of the therapy.
  5. Treatment of breast cancer- Pharmacogenomics is playing a very important role to discover the personalized treatment of Breast cancer. It reduces the toxicity of drug and increases the effect of cancer therapy in an individual. 

7 Benefits of Pharmacogenomics

Pharmacogenomics combines the study of Biochemistry with genes, proteins, and single nucleotide polymorphisms.

1.      More Powerful Medicine- With this technique, pharmaceutical companies can create more powerful drugs based on enzymes, proteins, RNA molecules associated with genes and diseases. This will help to maximize the therapeutic effect of the drug and the specific therapy towards a disease.

2.      Appropriate method to determine the dosage of a drug-it is the more accurate method to determine the dosage of the drug. The dosage will depend on the genetics of the patient rather the statistics like weight & age. It will decrease the adverse drug reaction in patients, increase the therapeutic efficacy of the drug, improve the recovery of the patient and prevent the overdose of the drug.

3.      Better & Safer Drug- Instead of the traditional method of prescribing the drug, the doctor will now study the genetic profile of the patient and will prescribe the right drug. It will increase the safety of the patient and will prevent from side effects of the drug.

4.      Advanced screening of the disease-if a person knows their genetic code, he can prevent himself from the severity of the genetic disease by making changes in lifestyle and diet. Also if one is aware of his disease, can start the earlier therapy to minimize the extent of the damage.

5.      Better Vaccines-Vaccines will be much better as they will be made of material like DNA or RNA and will provide a better therapeutic effect. They are easy to store, inexpensive and stable while carrying many strains of pathogens.

6.      Improved Drug Discovery-By using genome targets, Pharma companies will be able to discover a more efficacious drug.

7.      Reduction in treatment cost-It will decrease the overall cost of the treatment by decreasing the adverse drug reaction, failed clinical trials, drug approval time and increasing the quality of the treatment.

I hope that this information on Pharmacogenomics will be beneficial to the readers and will move personalized medicine one step closer to the clinic.

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