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The post-genomic era has brought exciting opportunities in the field of pharmacology. The main goals of the Department of Pharmacology are to improve therapy with the use of genetic-genomic information, leading to individualized medicine, and early therapy or prevention. This field of study is called pharmacogenomics. Rather than applying the concept of one-drug-fits-all, pharmacogenomics aims to optimize therapy for the individual patient- on the basis of genetic profiles that determine susceptibility to disease and response to therapy. This strategy holds the promise of significant advances in drug therapy.

Research in the department addresses the therapy of complex diseases including cancer, cardiovascular diseases, mental illness, and drug addiction. Combined, these diseases impose an enormous burden on patients, and on society at large. For each of these complex diseases, multiple genes are suspected to be involved, interacting with external factors. The priority of this department is to understand better the causes underlying complex diseases, and thereby, improve therapy of coronary artery disease, mental disorders, cancer, and drug addiction. The Department has established a program in pharmacogenomics, including a core-laboratory for large-scale genotyping analysis. Several research groups with scientists from pharmacology, neuroscience, biology, computer sciences, informatics, and more, have begun extensive collaborations. For example, researchers have developed a novel approach to measure and evaluate genetic variability associated with coronary artery disease, the leading cause of death worldwide. This approach has the potential to permit predictions about who will respond to drug treatment, and what alternative treatment strategies might be effective.

In the future, the department hopes to establish genetic tests that permit us to understand underlying causes for disease progression and drug response in individual patients. This will allow the design of new drug treatments, and more importantly, early intervention or even prevention - an area of medicine with the greatest promise for improving and maintaining health. Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology.‚Äč