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Full Version: Overview of Pharmacogenetics and Pharmacogenomics in drug discovery process
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In the drug research process, a number of candidates fail to become therapeutic agents due to a number of reasons. In the drug discovery and development process, the aspect of the effect of genes has become a major issue in the present times. The discovery of a number of genetic diseases, the role of genes in regulating the pharmacokinetics of the drugs within the body and also the role of gene expression in determining the drug efficacy has resulted in the study of pharmacogenetics and pharmacogenomics largely.

Although the terms Pharmacogenetics and Pharmcogenomics are used interchangeably, there is considerable difference between the two. Pharmacogenetics identifies with the study of single gene mutations and its effect on the response of the drug within the body, while Pharmacogenomics has wider aspect covering the whole genome and the effect of different genes and their expression on the different aspects of drug response and efficacy within the body. The study of the pharmacogenomic profile of the patients helps in the determination of the target, its specificity and the whole drug development process, in general. It has been suggested that Pharmacogenetics may help in the differentiation between the patients while studying about a drug, while Pharmacogenomics may help in the differentiation and screening of the compounds.

It is seen that the medicines are being administered on the patients based on the symptoms and evidence after collecting the data of the clinical trials on the population as a whole. This general administration of the drug based on statistical data may give rise to differential response in the patient and may also result in possible toxicity. Hence, the study of the pharmacogenomic profile of the patient has become very important, in order to carry out proper treatment of the patient without any toxicity. The study of the SNPs (Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms) has become very essential as the occurrence of the SNP in the genome of an individual is high, which are also inherited resulting in the haplotype of an individual. Hence, in future the scanning of the genome for SNPs and the haplotype may help in the determination of the nature of drug response in a better way. Other Pharmacologic technologies such as DNA chips and Proteomics have also helped in the drug development process to a large extent.

Pharmacogenetics and Pharmacogenomics play important role in the target specification and pharmacokinetics of the drugs. The targets are polymorphic in nature as the targets are mainly protein in nature. The appropriate target selection is very essential for the pre-clinical trials of the prospective drugs as it gives a clear idea about drug efficacy. The polymorphic nature of the drug metabolizing enzymes, receptors, and transporters affects the pharmacokinetics of the drugs drastically. Hence, the knowledge about the pharmacogenomics of an individual is very essential. The study of the SNPs helps in knowing the safety profile of the drugs, which is helpful in avoiding toxic reactions in patients during the pre-clinical trials. The Pharmacogenomic profile gives a very clear idea about the variation in the genes responsible for the formation of the disease, thus giving an idea about the predisposition of people to develop particular diseases. This can help in further research related to the discovery of drugs and therapeutics like gene therapy for the treatment of the disease. The non-responsiveness to some drugs or development of adverse reactions for some drugs can also be known with the help of the pharmacogenomic profile of the patients.

Thus, it can be said that Pharmacogenomics has a very important role in the pharmaceutical industry. Genotype-guided therapies are becoming very crucial as patients respond to a drug based on their genetic factors. Pharmacogenomics helps in treating the right patient with the right drug and at right dose. This is the major implication of the study. However, it has to be kept in mind that Pharmacogenomics is important in healthcare and its study will be included as a part of the pre-clinical trial of the prospective drugs in near future. However, it is not important for all drugs, in general as its study is important for the drugs, which have narrow therapeutic index. The successful application of the knowledge of Pharmacogenomics in the drug discovery and development process will thus help in the reduction in the overall cost in the process by the reduction of the number of failures in the process.