From 1997 to 2010, despite promises made by the international scientific community, pharmacogenomic research produced few studies focusing on rare, orphan and tropical diseases prevalent in developing countries. Catherine Olivier, bioethics research at the University of Montreal's School of Public Health, recently published these findings in the journal Global Public Health.
Pharmcogenomics is a field of scientific research that studies the interaction between the genomic information of individuals (or populations) and their responses to drugs. In addition to its promising potential for the emergence of personalized medicine, pharmacogenomics held the potential to contribute to the development and accessibility of treatments for rare and orphan diseases including tropical infections in developing countries.
In general, "it is recognized that the distribution of technology and research follows the so-called 90/10 ratio rule, that is, 90% of global funding for health research, including the development drugs, is invested to treat 10% of the world's population," Olivier explained. This inequality between rich and poor countries had led the United Nations (UN) to make the fight against HIV-AIDS, malaria, and neglected tropical diseases one of its eight Millennium Development Goals, adopted in September 2000 by the 189 UN member states.
More than 600 studies analyzed
To verify the extent to which pharmacogenomics research has addressed rare, orphan, and tropical diseases, Olivier identified the focus of studies published in this area from 1997 to 2010.
As a result, she identified 626 studies published in 171 different journals.
Each study was analyzed according to the type of disease it concerned, the origin of its authors, and the latter's affiliation with pharmaceutical companies, if any. "The information collected allowed us to draw a map showing current and historical trends in the development of pharmacogenomic research,"
|Contact: William Raillant-Clark|
University of Montreal