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SAEC Partners with Liverpool, Newcastle Universities on PGx

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The International Serious Adverse Events Consortium (SAEC) has started new collaborations with the University of Liverpool and Newcastle University that will focus on hypersensitivity and liver injury.

The SAEC — an industry-funded partnership that includes the pharmaceutical industry, the US Food and Drug Administration, Wellcome Trust, and academic institutions — will work with the University of Liverpool to study the genetics involved in a serious drug reaction called hypersensitivity that involves the immune system and generally involve serious skin rashes.

Headed by Liverpool's Wolfson Center for Personalized Medicine, the International Hypersensitivity Consortium (ITCH) will recruit patients with a range of drug-induced skin reactions through a collaborative network involving more than 20 research centers around the world. ITCH will focus on specific causal drugs and on certain groups that experience drug-induced serious adverse events (SAEs).

"Our genetic research to date points to a strong role of the immune system in mediating these adverse responses," SAEC Chairman Arthur Holden explained in a statement. "To better understand the full genetic effects contributing to these diseases, we need to develop larger and more diverse collections of subjects, in conjunction with international researchers who share our strong interest and have experience with drug-induced skin and hypersensitivity reactions."

"Because of the relative rarity of these reactions, a global approach with multiple partners is the only solution," Liverpool Professor Munir Pirhmohamed said of the ITCH research effort.

"The aim is to identify genetic predisposing factors which would allow for prospective identification of susceptible patients, and insights into the mechanisms of these serious adverse reactions, which are associated with a number of drugs," Pirhmohamed explained.

The International Drug Induced Liver Injury Consortium (IDILIC) will be run from the Institute of Cellular Medicine at Newcastle University's Medical School, and it too will recruit from more than 20 international research centers and it will focus on the effects of causal drugs in specific populations.

"Our aim is to develop simple genetic tests so that treatment can be personalized and those at risk of these liver reactions [be] prescribed other medicines instead," Ann Daly, a professor of pharmacogenetics at Newcastle University, said.