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NIH Centers, Japan to Launch Pharmacogenomics Alliance

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Three of the institutes at the National Institutes of Health plan to work with Japan’s Center for Genomic Medicine to create an alliance focused on propelling international pharmacogenomics research and knowledge with a focus on cancer studies, the NIH said today.
The US and Japanese groups have signed a letter of intent to create a global alliance for pharmacogenomics, which will aim to identify genetic factors contributing to individual responses to disease treatments, particularly problematic side effects.
The Japanese side of the effort is represented by the Center for Genomic Medicine, which is a component of the RIKEN Yokohama Institute. The NIH collaborators include the National Institute of General Medical Sciences; the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; and the National Cancer Institute.
The alliance will focus on several efforts including understanding genetic factors that influence the effectiveness of breast cancer treatments, as well as those factors that can help determine the optimal length of treatment for two specific breast cancer drugs.
The collaborators also will work together to find new genetic factors that are linked to serious side effects from two drugs used to treat pancreatic cancer, and to study genes that can contribute to drug-induced long QT syndrome, which is a potentially lethal irregular heart rhythm.
The groups also plan to work with the International Warfarin Consortium on ways to use genetic profiles to tailor initial doses of the anti-clotting drug.
The NIH also said a joint steering committee will manage the alliance and will meet twice a year to share data, results, and to discuss progress, directions, and intellectual property issues with the scientific community.

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