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Disease Markers
Volume 18, Issue 2, Pages 63-71

Pharmacogenomic Biomarkers

Sandra C. Kirkwood and Richard D. Hockett Jr.

Eli Lilly and Company, Lilly Corporate Center, Indianapolis, IN 46285, USA

Received 18 September 2002; Accepted 18 September 2002

Copyright © 2002 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Pharmacogenomic biomarkers hold great promise for the future of medicine and have been touted as a means to personalize prescriptions. Genetic biomarkers for disease susceptibility including both Mendelian and complex disease promise to result in improved understanding of the pathophysiology of disease, identification of new potential therapeutic targets, and improved molecular classification of disease. However essential to fulfilling the promise of individualized therapeutic intervention is the identification of drug activity biomarkers that stratify individuals based on likely response to a particular therapeutic, both positive response, efficacy, and negative response, development of side effect or toxicity. Prior to the widespread clinical application of a genetic biomarker multiple scientific studies must be completed to identify the genetic variants and delineate their functional significance in the pathophysiology of a carefully defined phenotype. The applicability of the genetic biomarker in the human population must then be verified through both retrospective studies utilizing stored or clinical trial samples, and through clinical trials prospectively stratifying patients based on the biomarker. The risk conferred by the polymorphism and the applicability in the general population must be clearly understood. Thus, the development and widespread application of a pharmacogenomic biomarker is an involved process and for most disease states we are just at the beginning of the journey towards individualized therapy and improved clinical outcome.