The Scientist 13[10]:16, May. 10, 1999


Opportunities Abound in Pharmacogenomics

By James Kling

Graphic: Leza Berardone

"Have it your way!" proclaim the restaurant chain's ads. What is arguably true for patrons of the fast-food industry is likely inevitable for patients seeking therapy for their illnesses. Pharmacogenomics--the application of genotyping to patient therapy--could revolutionize drug discovery and medical treatment.

Side effects plague most prescription drugs--often, some percentage of patients gain no benefit at all. Many believe that this can be traced to genetic differences that disrupt the interaction between the drug and its target, or that show up in different stages of a disease, as in many cancers. With the advent of the Human Genome Project and automated analysis that can handle up to 25,000 samples per day, researchers predict that in the near future scientists will understand the vagaries of genetic pathways of major diseases well enough to custom-fit...

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