Medical Definition of Pharmacogenomics

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 12/11/2018

Pharmacogenomics: The study of how variations in the human genome affect the response to medications. The older term "pharmacogenetics" was created from the words "pharmacology" and "genetics" to indicate the intersection of pharmaceuticals and genetics. The sequencing of the human genome and the introduction of new technologies have made it possible to analyze multiple genes simultaneously, rather than one at a time. The newer term "pharmacogenomics" describes such large-scale, often genomewide approaches.

Pharmacogenomics may permit drugs to be tailor-made for individuals and adapted to each person's own genetic makeup. Environment, diet, age, lifestyle, and state of health all can influence a person's response to medicines, but understanding an individual's genetic makeup is thought to be the key to creating personalized drugs with greater efficacy and safety.

Pharmacogenomics combines traditional pharmaceutical sciences such as biochemistry with annotated knowledge of genes, proteins, and single nucleotide polymorphisms.

See also: Nutrigenomics.

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Reviewed on 12/11/2018