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NIH Awards $15M to Expand Pharmacogenomics Knowledge Base

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The National Institutes of Health said that it will spend $15 million over the next five years to provide data mining tools among other updates for the Pharmacogenomics Knowledge Base hosted at Stanford University.

PharmGKB is a free, curated pharmacogenomics database that identifies biochemical pathways influenced by specific drugs and provides information on important genes that determine how individuals respond to a broad array of medicines.

The Stanford team, led by Russ Altman, plans to use the funds to develop tools that automatically extract relevant information from scientific literature and databases, to better understand the molecular basis of drug toxicity and multiple drug interactions, to analyze whole genomes to identify variations associated with disease risk and links to adverse drug reactions, and to develop guidelines for doctors about the use of genetic tests to customize dosages when prescribing some medicines.

Jeremy Berg, director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, which administers the PharmGKB grant, said that the resource "plays a critical role in moving us closer to the goal of personalized prescriptions."

Begun in 2000, PharmKGB is part of NIH's pharmacogenomics initiative, which includes several individual research projects and the NIH Pharmacogenomics Research Network, comprised of 12 independently funded research groups that each focus on specific areas of pharmacogenomics.

This week, NIH awarded a total of $161.3 million over the next five years to 14 separate projects under the auspices of the PGRN.

The PharmKGB team at Stanford includes six staff scientists and six software engineers.

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