Genomics in drug development and safety testing; from target identification to genomic toxicology
In the annual report of the Chief Medical Officer, 1 Dame Sally Davies has declared that we are part of ‘generation genome’ – the era in which we reap the rewards of our advances in genomic technologies and improvements in our understanding of the whole genome in human health.
This article provides a review of the positive impact genomics can have on drug discovery, development and deployment in medicine.
We are only just beginning to realise the beneficial impact of genomics on human health, which was perhaps prematurely promised at the advent of the human genome project. Aided by the advancement in high-throughput (next generation) whole genome sequencing technologies and a simultaneous reduction in cost, the application of genomic technologies is becoming widespread. For example, genomics is becoming integrated into routine clinical practice, so-called genomic medicine. In the UK, the 100,000 genome project, led by Genome England, is a flagship project that is driving the ‘mainstreaming’ of genomics in the NHS, the benefits of which are already apparent in the diagnosis and clinical management of individuals.2 The big data that will be generated by these, and other, projects that employ genome-wide association studies (GWAS), microarray, whole genome (WGS) and whole exome sequencing (WES) approaches on vast numbers of patients will have far wider implications. For example, in target identification and drug development, as we further our understanding of genetic profiles underlying disease; while the high-throughput and cheap sequencing technologies could play a role in drug safety testing.
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