Pharmacogenetics concerns the analysis of genetic variants that are at the basis of response’s variability to the various pharmacological agents.
Individual responses to pharmacological treatment are very different from individual to individual and this variability is one of the most important issues in clinical practice. In the past, this inter-individual variability was not attributed to a genetic predisposition, but to various factors such as age, gender, nutritional status, kidney function and liver function, lifestyles with particular reference to diet, alcohol abuse and smoking, as well as concomitant intake of other drugs or the presence of comorbidity. To date, thanks to new knowledge in molecular genetics, it is believed that individual response to drugs is also modulated by genetic factors, as well as from the factors mentioned above.
Pharmacogenetics aims to a personalization of the treatments, by giving directions about the administration of drugs or combinations of drugs that are effective for each patient in relation to its specific genetic heritage.
The purpose of pharmacogenetics is to study how these differences can determine different responses to drugs and how this information can be exploited to achieve a therapy that takes into account the uniqueness of the genome.
The practical idea is to predict a patient's response to a given drug based on a genetic routine test, to reach the definition of "personalized" therapy.