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Pharmacogenomics: Your Genes and Getting the Right Medicine

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Photo: Pixabay via Public Domain
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

A saliva swab collected from a patient’s cheek can tell doctors what kinds of drugs will work best for a patient. It's the promise of pharmacogenomics, the science behind matching a patient's genetic profile with right medicine—and avoiding drugs that could actually harm them.

The new approach to genetics, medicine, and how the two interact have to do with the variety enzymes each person produces and how those enzymes interact with the drug. If a patient doesn’t produce an enzyme that breaks down a specific medication, the drug simply won't work as intended. Armed with a patient's genetic information, doctors can pursue another prescription, or even another treatment.

Dr. Robert Pollack is a Fort Myers psychiatrist who is using genomics to help patients find the right psychotropic medication more quickly, saving them time, money, and frustration. A specialist in post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, he joins Gulf Coast Live to talk about how he used genomics in the wake of the Pulse Night Club shooting one year ago to help first responders, victims, and witnesses quickly get the help they would need.

Also joining the program is Dr. Dan Handley with the Clinical and Translational Genome Research Institute, discussing studies still being donewith other pharmaceuticals, like targeted cancer therapies, based on a person’s genetic fingerprint.

Copyright 2020 WGCU. To see more, visit WGCU.

Matthew Smith is a reporter and producer of WGCU’s Gulf Coast Live.
Julie Glenn is the host of Gulf Coast Live. She has been working in southwest Florida as a freelance writer since 2007, most recently as a regular columnist for the Naples Daily News. She began her broadcasting career in 1993 as a reporter/anchor/producer for a local CBS affiliate in Quincy, Illinois. After also working for the NBC affiliate, she decided to move to Parma, Italy where she earned her Master’s degree in communication from the University of Gastronomic Sciences. Her undergraduate degree in Mass Communication is from the University of Missouri at Kansas City.