April 27, 2007

Global network to cut adverse drug reactions proposed

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Dan Rooden, M.D.

Global network to cut adverse drug reactions proposed

Vanderbilt University Medical Center's Dan Roden, M.D., and other experts are calling for the establishment of a global network to reduce the incidence of serious adverse drug reactions (SADRs).

SADRs “are estimated to be the fourth-leading cause of death in the United States, not far behind cancer and heart disease,” Roden and his co-authors wrote in a commentary published today in the journal Nature.

“One possible solution is to develop predictive genetic tests,” they wrote, but currently the numbers of reported cases of SADRs “are too small for adequate genetic analysis … a global pharmacogenomics network is needed to study SADRs.”

Roden, internationally known for his research on arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms), directs the John A. Oates Institute for Experimental Therapeutics and is assistant vice chancellor for Personalized Medicine at VUMC.

Since 2001, he has been a participating investigator in the National Institutes of Health-funded Pharmacogenetics Re-search Network, which supports studies of how genes affect the way people respond to medicines.

As part of the network, Roden directs the Pharmacogenomics of Arrhythmia Therapy Center, which is scanning the human genome for gene variants that put people at higher risk for fatal heart arrhythmias.

The goal is to help doctors target high-risk patients for more aggressive screening and preventive medications.

Roden is the principal investigator of VUMC’s DNA Database Resource, an anonymous databank launched last year that links genetic and clinical information to answer questions about drug effects and disease.

Researchers hope the DNA databank will help provide the knowledge necessary to develop predictive genetic tests that can reduce the incidence of SADRs.

The commentary's lead author is Kathleen Giacomini, Ph.D., of the University of California, San Francisco.

The other co-authors are Michel Eichelbaum, M.D., of the Stuttgart Institute of Clinical Pharmacology; Michael Hayden, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver; Ronald Krauss, M.D., of Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute in Oakland, Calif.; and Yusuke Nakamura, Ph.D., of the University of Tokyo.