Pharmacogenomics is a branch of pharmacology concerned with using DNA and amino acid sequence data to inform drug development and testing. An important application of pharmacogenomics is correlating individual genetic variation with drug responses.
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Pharmacogenomics is a combination of two fields and two different words: "pharmacology" and "genomics". So what that refers to is differences in different people's genomes, which result in differences in their pharmacology. Or in other words, the way they respond to a drug, because that is what pharmacology is. So pharmacogenomics is used in many ways. It's used most commonly to ask whether different people who have slightly different genomes, that is, the sequence of one gene or another, is different from one person or another. Is that going to influence their response to a drug, either in a positive way--that is, will one person get a therapeutic effect from a drug and the other person not--or in a bad way--that is, is one person going to get a side effect from a drug and the other one won't--as a result of that difference in the DNA sequence?
Christopher P. Austin, M.D.
Director, NIH Chemical Genomics Center (NCGC); Senior Advisor for Translational Research, Office of the Director
Dr. Austin's research focuses on development of reagents and technologies to translate genome sequence into functional insights. As director of the NIH Chemical Genomics Center (NCGC), part of a network of screening centers that produce chemical probes for use in biological research and drug development, Dr. Austin is spearheading a chemical genomics program that brings the power of small-molecule chemistry and informatics to the elucidation of gene function. Just as the Human Genome Project accelerated gene identification, this initiative promises to speed discoveries on gene function and lead to the development of new therapies for human disease.