söndag 9 maj 2010

Drugs and Race

I write my column Drugs and Race in TCS Daily on 14 September 2004.
Get ready for ethnic pharmaceuticals
The first ethnic heart medicine is coming. That different groups of people are prone to certain diseases and react differently to the same medication is well known in medical research. Scandinavians have a higher tendency towards developing schizophrenia, while those of African descent have a higher risk of cardiac diseases.

Up until now the same medicines have been used for all types of patients who share a particular type of ailment. But recently findings in pharmacogenomics, which combine modern genetic testing with pharmaceutical development processes, have started to produce medicines that are specific for certain groups. This is sure to be controversial.

The pharmaceutical company NitroMed developed in the 1980s a new heart medicine, but discarded the project since it did not have an effect that was great enough with the test group. But recently, when the company did a closer examination of the data that were collected from the test, they discovered that the medicine seemed to have an effect among people of African descent but not among Caucasians.
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