Pharmacogenetics overhyped?

UK body says full benefits are 15-20 years away, suggests incentives to spur drug development

Stephen Pincock(Stephen.pincock@journalist.co.uk)
Sep 25, 2005

The field of pharmacogenetics has been overhyped and is still more than a decade away from living up to its promise in clinical practice, largely due to shortages in researchers and lack of international coordination, according to a report from the Royal Society, the UK's national academy of science.

"When the human genome was sequenced, I think that--not unreasonably--the press and some of the scientists themselves gave the impression it was going to change medicine practically overnight," David Weatherall, chair of the working group that wrote the report, told The Scientist.

The Royal Society report notes that, in the UK, the development of personalized medicines is being hindered by a shortage of researchers in relevant disciplines. "It goes back to the teaching of pharmacology in medical schools," Weatherall said. "Clinical pharmacology has died off in recent years."

He and his colleagues also argue that there needs to be a...

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