Pharmacogenomics and personalised medicine

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Pharmacogenomics is the study of how the variability of the expression of genes between people leads to differences in susceptibility to disease and responses to medicines. 

Research into pharmacogenomics began following observations that not all people respond in the same way to the same medicines. This revealed that differences between individuals is caused by their genetic profile, at least in part.

Pharmacogenomics is an important new technology that promises to optimise the use of medicines, by targeting medicines to patient's individual genes. This is called 'personalised medicine'. Many pharmaceutical companies are also now integrating pharmacogenomics into their development strategies for medicines.

Activities at the European Medicines Agency

The European Medicines Agency has a Pharmacogenomics Working Party, a group of European experts in pharmacogenomics that gives recommendations to the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP).

The Agency also hosts meetings on pharmacogenomics and related areas:

The Agency also publishes scientific guidelines on pharmacogenomics. These intend to help companies design and carry out studies in pharmacogenomics.

Medicines with pharmacogenetic information

The Department of Genetics at Stanford University maintains a pharmacogenomics knowledge resource called PharmGKB. This resource includes clinical information such as dosing guidelines, published information on medicines, associations between genes and medicines and relationships between genotypes and phenotypes.

Part of this resource lists the European Union (EU)-authorised medicines approved by the EMA that contain pharmacogenetic information in the summary of product characteristics.

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