Professor Pirmohamed is leading a team of scientists, researchers and nurses in identifying genes and pathways which dictate a patient’s positive or negative response to a drug. The multidisciplinary team will collaborate with researchers locally, regionally, nationally and internationally to identify genetic predisposing factors for drug responses associated with a number of disease areas including epilepsy and asthma.
Professor Pirmohamed comments “The study of pharmacogenetics is vital to the public health of this country. An area of particular importance may be drug safety. One of our recent studies showed that at any one time the equivalent of more than seven 800-bed hospitals are taken up with the patients who have suffered the side effects of drugs they have been prescribed." A quarter of a million people are admitted to hospital in the UK each year following adverse reactions to a variety of commonly prescribed drugs which costs the NHS an average of £466 million annually (Pirmohamed, et al. 2004).
Various important areas are being tackled as part of the pharmacogenetics research programme (See Projects). Apart from the recent investment in this area in Liverpool, pharmacogenetics also forms an important part of the research being undertaken as part of the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre in Microbial Diseases recently awarded to the Royal Liverpool University Hospital in collaboration with the University and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. The concerted effort together with the critical mass of expertise will allow Liverpool to provide the evidence base for pharmacogenetics that is necessary to revolutionise the way important illnesses are treated in the UK and worldwide in a number of important diseases areas.