Genes and drugs

Nature Reviews Genetics this month has published a panel conversation between five experts on pharmacogenomics Altman:pharmacogenomics:2010. If you’re interested in the way that people are addressing research on gene-drug interactions, this is a good introduction. As I’m preparing for my course in genomic anthropology in the spring, I’m gathering resources that help to illustrate the changing role of genetic information in many aspects of life.

A quote:

[I]t is unlikely that we will make major advances if we continue to view a patient's genotype data as a laboratory test, as this necessitates a laboratory order, a delay until the result is available, a cost per unit test and results in an uncertain reimbursement. Instead, we need to consider the genetic exam as a separate component, more akin to medical history and physical examination. In this context, genetic information would be available to the physician at the time of the encounter with the patient and could be used in real time. However, this will require significant investments in information technology and education to assist physicians in the interpretation of such information, as well as a means to cover the relatively modest costs of acquiring medically useful genotype information.

Much of the interview reviews basic concepts such as the missing heritability problem and gene-environment interactions, it’s good for students, I’d say.