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NIGMS to Fund Network of PGx, Genomics-based Drug Prediction Science Centers

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Institutes of Health plans to fund a network of centers that will use pharmacogenomics and more advanced genomic approaches to develop innovative methods for predicting drug responses.

The National Institute for General Medical Sciences will provide up to $1.8 million per year to each of these research centers, which beginning in 2015 will serve as anchors for the Pharmacogenomics Research Network, a program NIH has supported since 2000.

Each of these large-scale, multidisciplinary centers concentrate on "a tightly-focused theme," and use experimental approaches based on gene expression, regulation patterns, assessment of post-genomic modifications, and other small-molecule signatures that go beyond pharmacogenomics and may be useful for predicting drug actions or pathway analysis, NIH said on Friday.

Each center also will have a clinical interaction, either as a patient-oriented core or through a relationship with clinical studies or trials being run by outside organizations.

Although the ultimate goal for these centers should be to conduct research that eventually helps to guide patient care, NIH wants them to focus currently on making discoveries at the forefront of the pharmacogenomics and personalized drug response field.

These activities may include, but are not limited to, including whole and partial genome sequencing and other deep resequencing efforts in pharmacogenomics studies; using patient-derived specimens to move beyond the genome sequence and using other data-driven approaches to derive knowledge about drug interactions; integrating and modeling multidimensional diverse data sets from the transcriptome, proteome, and epigenome, to develop treatment strategies; using somatic mutations from other genomes, such as that of tumors, microbes, or infectious agents; and creating new models for representing drug response, such as single cell-based methods, and other approaches.