August 17, 2016
Genetics change drug mix
A Victoria University molecular geneticist says a wider range of drugs may need to be made available to ensure Maori and Pacific Island people are getting the treatment that best suits their genetic make-up.
Dr Geoff Chambers along with colleagues in Malaysia and the United Kingdom has just published the results of a 30-year study on how genetic differences affect tissue typing and blood group analysis.
He says Maori and Pasifika are more likely to find donors from someone within their own ancestral background.
It also affects their responses to medicines.
"Because these medicines are researched in Europe they are a good fit for European people but not necessarily for Maori and Pacific so you can’t take if for granted that things will transfer. The big pharmaceutical companies don’t have an opportunity to field test all these things on different ethnic groups when they are released so we need to be vigilant and develop, if you like, an indigenous approach to prescribing," Dr Chambers says.
Maori and Pasifika are part of the Austronesian people, so researchers here should pay attention to medical discoveries coming out of parts of Southeast Asia like Malaysia and Indonesia.
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