ACCOuNT is the African American Cardiovascular pharmacogenetics CONsorTium. Learn more about precision medicine, pharmacogenomics, and the goals of ACCOuNT below.
What is precision medicine?
The U.S. National Library of Medicine defines precision medicine as an “emerging approach for disease treatment and prevention that takes into account individual variability in genes, environment, and lifestyle for each person. This approach will allow doctors and researchers to predict more accurately which treatment and prevention strategies for a particular disease will work in which groups of people. It is in contrast to a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, in which disease treatment and prevention strategies are developed for the average person, with less consideration for the differences between individuals.”
What is pharmacogenomics?
Pharmacogenomics is an important part of precision medicine.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “it is the study of how genes affect a person’s response to particular drugs. Since many drugs that are currently available don’t work the same way for everyone, it can be difficult to predict who will benefit from a medication, who will not respond at all, and who will experience negative side effects (called adverse drug reactions). Adverse drug reactions are a significant cause of hospitalizations and deaths in the United States. Pharmacogenomics can be used to reduce these adverse reactions and to develop effective, safe medications and doses that will be tailored to a person’s genetic makeup.”
Are there health disparities in precision medicine?
Precision medicine and pharmacogenomics have the potential to improve health care and reduce adverse drug reactions for thousands of patients each year. Hospitals around the country have begun using results from pharmacogenomics research studies to develop guidelines that doctors can use to prescribe medications to patients based on their genetic information.
However, the majority of the genome association studies used in developing these clinical guidelines were conducted in populations of European ancestry. Minority populations have been largely excluded from precision medicine, even though they make up a growing number of patients. This is problematic because some genetic variations found in Caucasian groups are rare or absent in minority populations. As a result, the guidelines being developed based on these genetic variations may be much less useful to minority patients than they are to Caucasian groups. If not addressed, these health disparities in precision medicine will get worse over time.
What is ACCOuNT?
ACCOuNT is a group of doctors, researchers, community leaders, and patients who believe that all people should benefit equally from precision medicine, which can improve health and quality of life. The goal of ACCOuNT (African American Cardiovascular pharmacogenetics CONsorTium) is to reduce the current health disparities in precision medicine, and specifically among African Americans. We will do this by:
- Searching for genetic variations in African Americans that may affect how a person responds to a medication.
- Developing recommendations that doctors can use when prescribing medications to patients.
- Sharing information about precision medicine and pharmacogenomic research with patients and communities.
ACCOuNT hopes to close this gap in precision medicine by making pharmacogenetic discoveries and then quickly translating these findings into better health care for African Americans. Learn more about how ACCOuNT is achieving its goals through the Discovery and Translation research projects.