Through her research, Minoli Perera, PharmD, PhD, works to bring pharmacogenomics to African-American populations. Pharmacogenomics, part of the precision medicine movement, involves using a patient’s genetic information to predict drug response, such as whether a medication will be effective or if it might lead to adverse effects. Discovery and translation in this field has accelerated with President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative. However, African-Americans remain under-represented in these studies.
The lab focuses on a class of drugs used for thrombotic conditions because 1) these drugs are dangerous and must be used within a tight therapeutic window, and 2) African-Americans suffer from thrombotic diseases at a higher rate than other populations. Perera's recent U54-funded center, named ACCOuNT (African american Cardiovascular pharmacogenomics CONsorTium), is aimed at accelerating discovery and translation of these anti-thrombotic medications in the hope that actionable clinical outcomes can be made in African-Americans. This is of utmost important given that rapid progress in pharmacogenomics has meant that many academic hospitals around the country have begun incorporating genetic biomarkers into the medical record and using this information to guide therapy. However, most of these studies have been conducted in populations of European descent, meaning that many times these predictive genomics biomarkers are uninformative to other populations, such as African-Americans. Our ultimate goal is to bring the promise of precision medicine to all Americans.
Read more about Perera's research in Northwestern Medicine magazine.
Minoli Perera, PharmD, PhD,
associate professor of Pharmacology