Pharmacogenomics offers sustainable healthcare: Expert

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Bangalore, Feb 23: The incorporation of pharmacogenomics data into medical prescriptions will usher in a major transformation in health care system of the country, Prof Samir K Brahmachari, DG Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), has said.

Delivering the keynote address at the 12th convocation of the NIMHANS here yesterday, Prof Brahmachari said the CSIR had taken initiative to generate the Indian Genome Variation Database after successfully networking different agencies, including from diverse disciplines of life sciences, anthropology, statistics and computational biology.

He said the project started in 2003 had almost completed its task and may come out with the data base shortly. The Indian Genome Variation Database houses information on variations on over 1,000 genes which have been implicated in disease like asthma, diabetes, neuropsychiatric disorders, cancer, coronary artery disease, clot disorders, high altitude disorders, retinitis, pigmentosa, predisposition to malaria and other infectious diseases and drug metabolism.

Prof Brahmachari said people selected in the study have been taken from contrasting ethnic populations derived from four major linguistic lineages, Indo-European, Dravidian, Austroasiatic and tibeto Burman. The number of populations selected and their sizes, as estimated from surveys, represent a near quarter of the Indian population.

This huge amount of basal variation data would allow one to address fundamental questions related to predictive marker discovery and pharmacogenomic studies. ''This valuable basal data would be extremely useful, not only for pharma companies but also for devising therapeutic regime of different populations,'' he said.

Hailing the enormous efforts put out by the consortium in generating Indian Genome Variation Database, he said it would have the potential to reveal the underlying genetic basis of adverse drug reaction and limited drug efficacies that might limit market size to avoid 'One size fits all' and play a crucial role in clinical medicine in the future.

Opining that there was a need of global initiatives to develop rational means for optimised drug therapy to ensure maximum efficacy with minimal side effects, Prof Brahmachari said there was a need for developing an open source biomarket programme that will strive to keep the low-cost drugs in the market.

''The output of this would be open-house platform of computational, experimental and clinical for developing a pharmacogenomic approach for ensuring the availability of cost-effective drugs to the economically marginalised people of the developing world,'' he added.


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