Personalized medicine revolution hampered by unexpected genetic variation

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Despite advancements in personalized medicine and targeted therapy, the so-called “personalized medicine revolution” has been late in coming, meaning that drug effects as well as side effects still vary extensively from person to person.

In two recent papers, researchers at Karolinska Institutet have suggested a mechanism for this delay: It turns out that there are many more gene variants that contribute to an individual’s response to a medication than previously was thought, meaning that the genetic testing used today is too unsophisticated to capture the full scope of genetic changes that influence pharmacologic response.

“For the individual patient, the tests used today don’t give enough information, which means that if we’re to provide real personalized drug treatment we need to characterize the entire genetic variability of the patient,” said Magnus Ingelman-Sundberg, Professor of Molecular Toxicology and Principal Investigator at Karolinska Institutet’s Department of Physiology and Phar...