Designing therapeutic strategies to individualize therapy
Dr. Wang's lab is committed to identifying and developing new remedies for conditions such as breast cancer, prostate cancer and mental illness. Through understanding pharmacogenomics, especially of anti-neoplastic agents and their influence on individual patient responses, it is possible to develop personalized, and therefore, more-effective treatments.
Pharmacogenomics (PGx) is the study of the role of inheritance in variation in drug response, either efficacy or toxicity. Research in the Pharmacogenomics and Drug Targets Laboratory focuses on the pharmacogenomics of antineoplastic agents. Most anti-neoplastic drugs have narrow therapeutic indices. Therefore, treatment with these drugs can result in significant, sometimes, life-threatening drug-induced toxicity.
At the same time, the therapeutic response to those agents is variable. For example, aromatase inhibitors (AIs) that are used in the treatment of hormonal receptor positive breast cancer (the most common subtype of breast cancer) can result in severe toxicity causing patients to discontinue the lifesaving treatment. Additionally, 20% of patients experience cancer recurrence despite being on the drugs for many years.
It is important to predict which subpopulations will respond to the treatment in order to achieve better therapeutic effect and to avoid toxicity. This is the goal of pharmacogenomics and the future of medicine — individualized therapy.
Pharmacogenomics is a rapidly growing field, and it has already had real impact on the practice of medicine. Our lab is involved in every aspect of pharmacogenomics research from discovery and translation to implementation of PGx in clinic.
About Dr. Wang
Liewei Wang, M.D., Ph.D., is a professor of pharmacology at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science in Rochester, Minnesota. She is a member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation (ASCI). She is also the co-director of Mayo Clinic's Clinical Pharmacology Training Program with the Center for Individualized Medicine. Dr. Wang's research interests include identifying additional treatment options for chemotherapy-resistant cancers. She is an investigator in the Mayo Clinic Breast Cancer SPORE.