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Highly Accessed Editorial

Pharmacogenomics: a key component of personalized therapy

Matthias Schwab12* and Elke Schaeffeler12

Author Affiliations

1 Dr Margarete Fischer-Bosch-Institute of Clinical Pharmacology, Auerbachstrasse 112, 70376, Stuttgart, Germany

2 Department of Clinical Pharmacology, University Hospital, 72076 Tuebingen, Germany

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Genome Medicine 2012, 4:93  doi:10.1186/gm394

Published: 29 November 2012

First paragraph (this article has no abstract)

The goal of personalized medicine is to provide individualized treatment and to predict the clinical outcome of different treatments in different patients. Pharmacogenomics is one of the core elements in personalized medicine. The basic concept is that interindividual variability in drug response is a consequence of multiple factors, including genomics, epigenomics, the environment and a patient's characteristics, such as gender, age and/or concomitant medication [1]. Thirty years ago, drug response was found to be altered by genetic polymorphisms in drug-metabolizing enzymes (for example, the cytochrome P450 2D6 and the thiopurine S-methyltransferase) [2], yet valid and predictive biomarkers for therapeutic effects and/or for avoiding severe side effects are lacking for more than 90% of drugs currently used in clinical practice. Pharmacogenomics in recent years has used a new generation of technologies known as 'omics' approaches that has led to a revolution in the understanding of disease susceptibility and pathophysiology, providing enormous potential for novel therapeutic strategies.