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NIH expands key pharmacogenomics resource
Date:9/7/2010

To help advance research on how genes affect responses to medicines, the National Institutes of Health is spending $15 million over five years to expand a key resource, the Pharmacogenomics Knowledge Base (PharmGKB), http://www.pharmgkb.org/ .

The goal of pharmacogenomics is to use information about a patient's genetic make-up to optimize his or her medical treatment. As the field has grown, so has PharmGKB. Begun in 2000 to catalog links between human genetic variation and drug responses, the PharmGKB Web site is now a centralized hub that collects, analyzes and integrates data for national and international research consortia. All information in PharmGKB is carefully curated, meaning it is annotated and cross-referenced with related research data.

"PharmGKB is a trusted source for curated knowledge about pharmacogenomics," said Jeremy M. Berg, director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), which administers the PharmGKB grant. "It plays a critical role in moving us closer to the goal of personalized prescriptions, meaning each patient receives a safe and effective drug dose based on his or her individual characteristics."

PharmGKB, which is freely available to the scientific community, identifies biochemical pathways influenced by specific drugs and provides detailed summaries of key genes that influence a person's response to a broad array of medicines. PharmGKB also includes six staff scientists and six software engineers who conduct research, collaborate with other investigators and build the software infrastructure supporting PharmGKB.

In a 2009 study PharmGKB researchers, together with scientists from Europe, Asia, South America and the Middle East, were able to utilize patients' genetic information to better predict their optimal doses of warfarin, a widely used blood thinner that is tricky to dose. The concept of using genotyping in this way is now bei
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Contact: Alisa Zapp Machalek
alisa.machalek@nih.gov
301-496-7301
NIH/National Institute of General Medical Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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