The relatively new science of pharmacogenomics is getting an increasing amount of attention as of late. According to the NIH, it is defined, somewhat simply, as “the study of how genes affect a person’s response to drugs.” It was born out of the fact that current drugs on the market are designed to essentially be a “one-size-fits-all” solution to a particular health problem. However, anyone who has had the patience to sit through the list of disclaimers in a drug commercial or strained their eyes reading the litany of potential side effects a pharmaceutical might have understands that drugs affect different people in different ways, despite their having the same condition. Some may experience the relief they seek, fulfilling the purpose of the drug with little to no ill side effects, while others may experience significant adverse conditions, including (rarely) death. The study of pharmacogenomics presumes that this is likely due to sequence variants in the patients’ genes.
That is not to say that only genetic variations are responsible for these different responses to treatment. Other factors, in the presence of these variations, can include, but are not limited to:
- Metabolic redundancy
- Drug-drug interactions
- Liver, renal, and cardiac function
“What is clinical utility of genetic testing to inform the selection or dose of medications for individuals diagnosed with the conditions of interest?”
When it comes to the field of genetic testing, it is important to consider the analytical validity, clinical validity, and clinical utility of a test (see our blog Analytical Validity, Clinical Validity, and Clinical Utility: What’s the Difference for definitions). The same is true in the study of pharmacogenomics, particularly as regards clinical validity and clinical utility.
We performed a study around selected psychiatric and behavioral conditions asking the questions (as compared with decisions based on usual care or no genetic testing):
- What is clinical utility of genetic testing to inform the selection or dose of medications for individuals diagnosed with the conditions of interest?
- Does genetic testing to inform the selection or dose of medications change the drug or dose selected by physicians compared with usual care/no genetic testing?
- Do decisions about selection or dose of medications guided by genetic testing result in:
- clinically meaningful improvement in patient response to treatment or
- reduction in adverse events as a result of treatment
How did we do it? What did we find? What are the implications of what we found?
The 2017 Client Symposium will be held at the Warwick Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia, PA, on October 5-6. Register here to see what we found out.