When drug therapy fails to achieve its objectives, it is frustrating for both the patients, whose health and well-being is on the line, and the providers, who believed they were recommending the best possible care. Pharmacogenomics seeks to eliminate some of that prescriber trial and error.
In his article for Clinical Services Journal, “A game changer for personalised medicine?”, Daniel Streetman, PharmD, of Wolters Kluwer, Health, examines how pharmacogenomics can help customize appropriate and safe treatments by studying how individuals’ genetic profiles might affect their reactions to medications and likelihood to experience adverse drug reactions (ADRs). He also discusses how the United Kingdom is uniquely positioned to expand its understanding of pharmacogenomics and its practice of personalized medicine.
In the article, Streetman notes that while there has been significant momentum in the field of pharmacogenomics in recent years, it remains a subject of professional debate. Part of the reason for resistance is that detailed information on pharmacogenomics isn’t always readily available to clinicians. Testing takes time, and correctly interpreting the test results takes training and appropriate resources that not all professionals and facilities yet have. Even with resources in place, when clinicians are pressed for time at the point of care, it becomes even more difficult to process these complex considerations.
Nonetheless, Streetman details several signs that pharmacogenomics is gaining a foothold in clinical practice. These include:
- Recent published guidelines and standards established by the Dutch Pharmacogenetics Working Group and Clinical Pharmacogenomics Implementation Consortium
- Investigation into key use cases
- Actionable data available from resources like Lexicomp
- Proliferation of consumer genetic testing
The UK is a “pioneer in the field of genetic testing,” Streetman writes, with a history of sequencing genomes. With its centralized National Health Service (NHS) establishing a Genomic Medicine Service to provide widespread testing and promote training, Streetman foresees potential to accelerate growth in the field in the UK.