Overview and background

          Pharmacogenomics is the study of genetic population variability, which affects the use of drugs. In a hypothesis situation, a particular drug might be ideal for most people, but in real practice, rare severe side effects can occurs in a minority of population. For example, a pharmacogenetic screening assay (DNA testing) of HLA-B * 5701 gene enable us to avoid a serious side effect of the antiretroviral drug, abacavir, prior to treatment. This prove shown statistically significant in reducing the number of patients who stop taking their medication because of its side effects.

          It is noteworthy that people in East and Southeast Asia are affected commonly by rare skin adverse reactions such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome/Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis Syndromes (SJS/TENS). Two of the most common drugs that cause SJS/TENS are carbamazepine and allopurinol. In order to avoid the serious side effect of Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS), the US FDA recommends HLA-B*1502 testing before starting carbamazepine in Chinese people and South East Asians descendents , in whom HLA-B*1502 is prevalent. People in those countries including Thailand and Malaysia should test  HLA-B*1502 gene before starting anti-epileptic drug, carbamazepine,  in order to avoid the serious side effect of Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS). On the contrary, there is no need of testing in Caucasian or Japanese populations. Whilst most of available genomic information came from people in developed countries and it cannot be used as a reference for the Southeast Asian population.

          TCELS; Ministry of Sciences, Department of Medical Sciences; Ministry of Public Health, Ramathibodi Hospital Mahidol University; Faculty of Pharmacy Mahidol University and Genome Research Institute; Riken; Japan, provided several honorary guest lecturers, including experts from the University of North Carolina, Singapore’s Health Science Authority and the Thailand Food and Drug Administration. The scope of this meeting ranged from basic to translational and policy researches; and productive collaboration on pharmacogenomics is eagerly anticipated  in the 2nd Meeting South East Asian Pharmacogenomics Research Network during January 15-18,2013 at The Sukosol Hotel, Bangkok. The main objective of SEAPHARM is to achieve sustainable pharmacogenomics research and work together in conducting clinical trial studies in various drugs which are effective and  free of side effects for 560 million Southeast Asians.


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