Drugs and Genes: The Development of Personalized Medicine

M. Marcel Iba (Pharmacology and Toxicology)

What causes lactose intolerance, hay fever, or extreme reactions to peanuts or penicillin? What if scientists could create “personalized medicine” that targeted each person’s unique response to food and drugs? Some scientists are now saying that we can. Drug and food intolerance stems from genetic differences in individuals and affects their level of protection or susceptibility to toxins in foods or in the environment. These genetic differences, or mutations, have developed over the course of human evolution. In this seminar, we will learn about the history and role of genes in food, chemical, and environmental intolerance. We will also discuss the relationships between modern drug therapy, disease management, and genetics, and trace the development of personalized medicine.