The Next Generation of Medicine:                      Personalized for You











                    Henry "Mark"  Dunnenberger, PharmD

Henry “Mark” Dunnenberger, PharmD, Senior Clinical Specialist Pharmacogenomics, NorthShore Center for Personalized Medicine, believes that Personalized Medicine is the “next generation” of medicine, an approach that will not only treat disease, but also predict and potentially prevent many diseases. Here he defines pharmacogenomics and how it stands to make a revolutionary impact on patient treatment and outcomes.

What is pharmacogenomics?
Pharmacogenomics is the study of how differences in DNA affect response to medications. These differences in DNA can help explain why two otherwise similar patients can receive the same medication at the same dose for the same indication and have different responses. The medication may work well for one patient, while the other patient may receive no benefit or experience side effects. By analyzing genetic variation, we can predict who is more likely to experience these undesirable outcomes. NorthShore’s Pharmacogenomics Clinic was the first in the Chicago area, launching in March of 2015. There are only a handful of clinics in the country.

How can it help patients? How does it change treatment for diseases like cancer?
If we know a patient’s genotype when a medication is prescribed to them, we are able to make a more informed decision to treat patients with the conventional dose, alter the dose or choose a different medication altogether. These actions will reduce the risk that a patient will experience a negative drug-related outcome. This all leads to a safer, more effective treatment for each individual. It can be paraphrased as: The right drug, at the right dose, for the right patient, the first time.

What is the role of pharmacogenomics in the NorthShore Center for Personalized Medicine?
Personalized Medicine is the next step in the evolution of medicine. It can be thought of as the tailoring of medical treatment to the individual characteristics, needs and preferences of a patient during all stages of care, from prevention and diagnosis, to treatment and follow-up. NorthShore is instituting Personalized Medicine through the Center for Personalized Medicine. This Center brings together clinical, research and bioinformatics genomics experts from across the health system.

What’s next for pharmacogenomics? What developments do you see in the near future?
Pharmacogenomics is advancing in numerous ways. First, we are learning more about differences in DNA, known as variants, which have an effect on drug therapy. This will increase the number of drug/gene pairs we can implement in clinical care. Second, we are figuring out which patient populations will benefit the most from pharmacogenomics-based interventions. Third, we are discovering the best ways to deliver pharmacogenomics data to all practitioners.

What do you hope you’ll be able to do in the future?
In the future, I hope every patient at NorthShore will have their individual pharmacogenomics data in their health record before they need it, and we will have developed a system to make the data actionable to improve their care when they need it.

Find out more about the NorthShore Center for Personalized Medicine by clicking here.

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