Understanding Pharmacogenomics

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Image: genomicenterprise.com

A pharmacist pursuing his doctorate in pharmaceutical sciences through the University of Kentucky, Sherif Mohamed El-Refai researches lung cancer and serves the Markey Cancer Center as oncology pharmacist. Sherif Mohamed El-Refai’s scientific background also includes a period studying pharmacogenomics as a doctor of pharmacy student with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Pharmacogenomics is a field of study that examines how genetic factors interact with medications. Often times, when doctors prescribe drugs to a patient, they do so with the hope that those patients will respond similarly. However, pharmacogenomics is based on the fact that each patient is unique and will therefore have differing reactions to drugs, meaning some may exhibit strong or adverse reactions to medications while others will experience no reaction at all.

By researching pharmacogenomics, scientists hope to one day predict how individual patients will respond to specific drugs. Currently, there are many clinical trials using pharmacogenomic approaches to study how people react to medications intended to treat conditions ranging from heart disease to depression.


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