A Quick Intro to Pharmacogenomics for Students in Quality Control CoursesJanuary 9, 2018
Height, weight, and gender are some of the standard factors looked at when determining the appropriateness or dosage of a medication, but even accounting for several of these may not result in a perfect solution. Accounting for the very genetic code of the individual who is meant to receive a treatment, though, could be the key to providing the precise care that is best suited for each person.
Pharmacogenomics is the study of how the genome affects an individual’s reaction to a drug that enters their system, and in an age of heightened focus on genetic modification and engineering, is increasingly important to professionals entering the pharmaceutical space. Want to learn a little more about it? Here is an introduction.
Pharmacogenomics Is a Proactive Step Toward Improved Outcomes
Though it is well known that different people react differently to medications, the reality today is that people are often prescribed medications that might not work for them. The reason? There’s no way to know with absolute certainty that the medication won’t work until after the individual takes it.
Pharmacogenomics, though a young field of study, offers the potential for improvement in this area. Tools used in this research could be used for checking patients for genetic variations known to result in poorer outcomes for a given medication. When detected, doctors could screen out any individuals who would fare poorly with a prescribed treatment, offering them an alternative that is better suited to their genetic makeup. The results should be a faster start toward healing and better outcomes for patients who might otherwise have to wait until their incompatibility was discovered through trial and error.
Pharmacogenomics Could Enhance Research and Quality Assurance in Pharmaceutical Trials
Drug trials are complex, lengthy, and expensive, which is why new medicines are often so pricey and exciting breakthroughs can take many years to make it to market. One of the applications of pharmacogenomics that might be most exciting to pharmaceutical quality assurance and quality control professionals is that the process might be able to remove some of the friction from the process of development.
With pharmacogenomics, it becomes much easier to determine the ideal population to whom a particular treatment might be targeted. It is also easier to predict the safety of the treatment, and to account for negative results that could well be outliers in the trial population, and not indicative of what would be expected should the drug be properly prescribed out in the world. Correspondingly, in your career, you could well find that the use of pharmacogenomics provides valuable guidance towards cheaper and more effective drug trials.
Students in Quality Control Courses Recognize There Are Challenges in Applying Pharmacogenomics
There are no miracle solutions in the world of medical science—not yet, anyway—and pharmacogenomics are no exception to this rule. Graduates of quality control courses may well know that the cost of genetic sequencing is prohibitive, and while this is expected to change over the coming years, it’s an obstacle for the time being. Some also worry that being able to screen out poor candidates for a particular therapy may result in that population not receiving enough attention during the development process, with questions left unanswered about what might happen if they were somehow to take the drug.
Despite these worries, the matter of pharmacogenomics in drug research and development could very much be a matter of when it will become a standard, and not if. Already, the tools of this field of research are employed in laboratories around the world, and this could become more commonplace as time passes.
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