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Understanding Cancer Series

  • Posted: 12/29/2009

Slide 12

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Genetic Variations: Drug Metabolism SNPs

When a person takes medication, many proteins in his or her body interact with the drug as it is transported throughout the body, absorbed into tissues, metabolized into more active forms or toxic byproducts, and excreted. If an individual has SNPs in any one or more of these proteins, they may alter the time the body is exposed to active forms of a drug or to any of its toxic byproducts.

Researchers now have the tools to study how genetic variations can influence an individual person's response to a drug. They can even capture information on metabolism-related genetic variations that occur among different genders or ethnic groups. The data they are collecting should help to explain why certain persons within a population may have different side effects in response to the same drug or some may respond to therapy better or worse than others.

Graphic shows how genetic variations can influence an individual person's response to a drug.