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Taxane pharmacogenetics: neurotoxicity and therapeutic efficacy

14th national competition for scientific and technical research

Genetic and pharmacogenetic markers

Senior Researcher : Cristina Rodríguez González de Antona

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Research Centre or Institution : Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncológicas (CNIO). Madrid


The need to improve the effectiveness of pharmacological treatments is one of the priority goals of modern pharmacology, as, in many cases, the percentage of people who respond optimally to treatment based on typical dosages is low. This is particularly important in the field of oncology, as serious toxicity appears frequently and obtaining high levels of effectiveness in treatment is crucial. The genetic makeup of each individual can play a key role in their response to a drug. This is the basis of Pharmacogenetics, which studies the genetic variations that modify the therapeutic effectiveness and/or toxicity of a drug and help to select the safest and most efficient pharmacological treatment for each patient, based on their genetic makeup. The aim of this project is to establish the genetic foundations that cause the difference between individuals in toxicity and/or effectiveness of taxol (paclitaxel), in order to improve its use, as it is the drug most frequently used to treat different types of cancer (for example, ovary, breast and lung cancer). If the aims of this project are fulfilled, by way of a genetic test prior to treatment with taxol, it will be possible to identify the patients who have a high risk of suffering serious neurotoxicity and draw up an index of risks related to benefits. Based on these data, the oncologist will be able to use suitable doses of taxol, or choose an alternative drug, to cure, or in the most serious cases, help to significantly improve the quality of life of these patients.

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