• Queen Mary University of London
  • Barts Health NHS
  • Bradford NHS
  • Manchester Uni

New approaches in drug design for South Asian populations

People from different ethnic backgrounds may have distinct genetic risks for either a bad reaction to a medication or for that medication to fail (to not have the intended therapeutic effect). Because most studies large enough to reliably look at genetic risk associated with these medications are done in people of European heritage there is a risk that science may miss opportunities to decrease risk of giving medications to groups of people with other backgrounds. People in East London of East Asian heritage have a higher risk of having several different diseases and, sadly, die younger than the average Londoner. Because of the higher risk of having more than one illness, this group of people also have a higher risk of being prescribed multiple medications.

We hope that by examining genetic risk for an unintended consequence of prescription medication in this group of people specifically we could then reduce the risk of a medication failing or having a bad effect on a patient of South Asian Heritage. For this purpose, resources from Gene and health will be utilised to analyse genomic data linked with drug exposure and adverse reactions, these specific genetic variants will be selected for functional studies and as a result will find the efficacy/in efficacy of specific medication for particular disease.

Part of bringing genetic guidance for medication into the NHS to the benefit of all is ensuring that scientists understand community needs and ideal communication, therefore we are aiming to speak with multiple relevant communities and engage stake holders to design this research in a way targeted to the needs of the local South Asian community in London and the UK.