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Couple’s donation enables genetic research

Pharmacogenomics is the study of how genes influence a patient’s responses to drugs.

In 2005, thanks to a generous donation from the Jim and Mary Carney Charitable Trust, the Carney Centre for Pharmacogenomics was established in Christchurch. At the time of the donation, the Government matched certain large donations dollar for dollar – meaning the newly established Centre had a guaranteed future.

How do genes affect drug side effects and failures?

The Centre is a hub for researchers around New Zealand who work in the area. Its director is Professor Martin Kennedy.

Some recent research projects include clarifying how genetic differences contribute to a person’s risk of side effects, or failures in medication, in the areas of mental disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and heart disease. 

A  big picture goal of pharmacogenetics is to be able to tailor medication to an individual based on their genetic make-up, meaning better responses to drugs and fewer side effects.