Tuesday, September 07, 2010
ROCHESTER, Minn. — A Mayo Clinic investigator has been awarded an $11.2 million federal research grant for continuing research of pharmacogenomics, the study of the role of genetics in how a person responds to medication.
"Using genome-wide techniques we have the ability to scan across the entire genome, looking for genes that might play a role in who does and who does not respond to drugs," says Richard Weinshilboum, M.D., principal investigator on the award. "This grant will help us to continue to apply the most modern techniques of drug response, mainly in patients with breast cancer and depression."
Such techniques enable physicians to predict — prior to any treatment — whether a patient will or will not respond to a particular drug. This can greatly improve patient care by eliminating possible side effects and increasing drug effectiveness by determining appropriate dose.
"Our ability to use this kind of science to apply drug response has turned out to already be penetrating clinical practice in rather dramatic ways," says Dr. Weinshilboum. "We want to be sure that patients who come to Mayo can benefit from the application of this science, which is moving at warp speed."
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the completion of the human genome project, and pharmacogenomics remains on the forefront of Mayo Clinic's drug response research, helping to ensure Mayo's position as a leader in individualized medicine.
"Through these studies, we are moving closer to the goal of using genetic information to help prescribe the safest, most effective medicine for each patient," says Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is funding the grant.
The award is aimed at expanding the Pharmacogenomics Research Network (PGRN). Mayo is one of 19 PGRN sites receiving a portion of $166.3 million in this round of NIH funding. Its program is entitled "Pharmacogenetics of Phase II Drug Metabolizing Enzymes".
Announced along with Dr. Weinshilboum's award is an associated $3.1 million grant for a Pharmacogenomic Ontology Network Resource to be managed by Christopher Chute, M.D., Dr.P.H., Mayo Clinic bioinformatics researcher, and a $2.3 million grant for next generation DNA sequencing to be managed by Eric Wieben, Ph.D., Mayo genomics researcher.
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