Even as “nutrigenomics” – the science that highlights the strong correlation between genes and nutrition, has helped us understand the complex interplay of health and nutrition by underlining how our DNA influences our response to nutrition, “Pharmacogenomics” has emerged as an interesting field of research with its focus on how genes affect individual responses to drugs.
Don’t we all know that our genes play a major role in determining our looks?Research studies now tell us that our genes also play a significant role in the manner in which our bodies respond to medicines.
Genes determine the make-up of your body’s proteins. When you are sick, the medicines that you consume travel through the body and interact with these proteins. However, the proteins that your genes produce may not be similar to the ones produced by the genes of your cousin or your friend. And they may definitely not follow the same work pattern. Small, albeit normal, variations in your genes can distinguish your body proteins and this can affect your body’s response to the medicines that you ingest.
With the help of the resources generated by the human genome project, pharmacogenomics researchers have already identified various genes whose variations or mutations can impact drug responses. Outcome of pharmacogenetic testing can become a powerful tool for identifying the relationship between the disease, the drug and the individual’s gene expressions. It also holds out the promise of ushering in the era of “personalised medicine” by allowing physicians to administer tailor-made therapies to patients based on their genotypes.
It is common knowledge that standard doses of medicines work well for most individuals. However, a better understanding of the genetic basis of drug responses will empower the doctors to prescribe drugs in their right or optimal doses that are best suited for each individual, thereby enhancing the safety and efficacy of the treatment.
Apart from determining the right dose of the medicine, pharmacogenetic testing will also help the physicians to pick the right drug regimen in treatment of diseases like cancer, HIV, cardio-vascular ailments and depression. By adopting targeted therapies, doctors can prescribe the right dose from the start and hope for better prognosis by gaining control over the disease at the early stages and reducing the risks of the patients.
Another significant advantage of pharmacogenetic testing is the all-important identification of drug reactions or side-effects that a patient may experience. Since identification of genetic variations is key to pharmacogenetics, doctors prescribe the medicines based on the genetic differences of the individuals. This alleviates the sufferings of the patients to a great extent and improves their safety. Xcode’s Clopidogrel Genetic Assessment is one of same kind.
Administration of the right dose of the right medicine will maximize the therapeutic benefits and will eventually pave way for better health care, universally. The added benefit is the elimination of the “trial and error” practice that is even now widely prevalent in treatments that take a huge toll on the time and other precious resources of both physicians and patients.
Pharmacogenetic testing is a dynamic tool that can bring about quality health care within the reach of every individual. It can improve healthcare costs, efficiency and bring about positive developments in the pharmaceutical industry by facilitating manufacture of safer and more effective medicines based on genetic profiles.
Pharmacogenetic testing, done by collecting DNA from blood samples or saliva, is poised to take personalized healthcare to the next level where patients and treatments could be matched effectively. Genetic science has questioned the validity of the “one size fits all” approach in the realms of nutrition and medicine. A better understanding of the way you metabolize your drugs by activating and deactivating them can help your physician personalize that dose of medicine – just for you!