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Study of the impact of genetic polymorphisms in the toxicity of the antiretroviral drugs used to treat HIV

14th national competition for scientific and technical research

Genetic and pharmacogenetic markers

Senior Researcher : Sonia María Rodríguez Nóvoa

Research Centre or Institution : Hospital Carlos III. Madrid.


This project falls within the framework of pharmacogenetics applied to HIV research. Over the last few years, HIV treatment has become extremely effective, enabling patients who previously had limited expectations of survival due to HIV infection and the development of AIDS to become chronic patients. However, the treatment of infection carries a high price in quality of life for many patients. In some cases, treatments have to be changed due to the adverse side effects of the antiretroviral drugs and sometimes it is even necessary to treat the symptoms derived from HIV treatment. The aim of this project is to identify the genetic factors associated with the high risk of side effects in patients, to identify this subgroup of patients and modify the therapy so as to enable us to personalise the treatment. This research will study some of the most significant adverse side effects of treatments, such as nephrotoxicity caused by tenofovir, severe hyperbilirubinemia caused by atazanavir and hypersensitivity to abacavir. These drugs are frequently used as part of antiretroviral treatment, making it necessary to find the factors that help to predict the development of toxicity, in order to personalise the treatment. This would improve the quality of life of patients and reduce healthcare costs related to treatment of the adverse side effects. Pharmacogenetic research is much more advanced in other fields, such as oncology, where it has already demonstrated its great usefulness. However, it is just starting out in the area of antiretroviral treatment. Due to the large quantity of HIV treatment drugs that exist, it is necessary to optimise treatment. This goal can be achieved using pharmacogenetic markers that help us to decide which treatment is the most suitable for each patient, thus avoiding the appearance of side effects.

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