The emerging science of precision medicine and pharmacogenomics for Parkinson's disease

Academic Article


  • Current therapies for Parkinson's disease are problematic because they are symptomatic and have adverse effects. New drugs have failed in clinical trials because of inadequate efficacy. At the core of the problem is trying to make one drug work for all Parkinson's disease patients, when we know this premise is wrong because (1) Parkinson's disease is not a single disease, and (2) no two individuals have the same biological makeup. Precision medicine is the goal to strive for, but we are only at the beginning stages of building the infrastructure for one of the most complex projects in the history of science, and it will be a long time before Parkinson's disease reaps the benefits. Pharmacogenomics, a cornerstone of precision medicine, has already proven successful for many conditions and could also propel drug discovery and improve treatment for Parkinson's disease. To make progress in the pharmacogenomics of Parkinson's disease, we need to change course from small inconclusive candidate gene studies to large-scale rigorously planned genome-wide studies that capture the nuclear genome and the microbiome. Pharmacogenomic studies must use homogenous subtypes of Parkinson's disease or apply the brute force of statistical power to overcome heterogeneity, which will require large sample sizes achievable only via internet-based methods and electronic databases. Large-scale pharmacogenomic studies, together with biomarker discovery efforts, will yield the knowledge necessary to design clinical trials with precision to alleviate confounding by disease heterogeneity and interindividual variability in drug response, two of the major impediments to successful drug discovery and effective treatment. © 2017 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Movement Disorders  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Payami H
  • Start Page

  • 1139
  • End Page

  • 1146
  • Volume

  • 32
  • Issue

  • 8