Since the unlocking of the double helix structure of DNA by Watson and Crick in 1953, it has been the focus of research for scientists all over the world. There is no doubt that this molecule of life holds the key to a person’s risks for diseases and also their reactions toward drug therapies. As we know, therapies prescribed to patients do not have a fixed outcome as the action of the drug depends so much on the way that the body reacts to the drug. The hope of alleviating this problem leads to the inception of the field of pharmacogenomics. According to National Centre for Biotechnology Information, Pharmacogenomics is a science that examines the inherited variations in genes that dictate drug response and explores the ways these variations can be used to predict whether a patient will have a good response to a drug, a bad response to a drug, or no response at all. This aims to ultimately tailor drug therapy to suit individual patient’s needs in order for them to achieve the highest therapeutic effect without experiencing detrimental side effects that often come hand in hand with the use of drugs.
Realizing the importance of this field, Pharmacogenomics Centre (PROMISE) known as Integrative Pharmacogenomics Institute (iPROMISE) was established at Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) in 2008 and I was honoured to be appointed as the Head for this centre also in the same year. Two years had gone so fast since then and although this centre is still at its infancy, the strides we made in terms of research and innovation is very promising. The buzz of research activities are at the heart of this center as well as partnership
s with international and local collaborators such as Karolinska Institute, Sweden; School of Medicine, University of California, Irvine; School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia; Faculty of Medicine, International Islamic University Malaysia; Faculty of Medicine, UiTM; Hospital Kuala Lumpur and Hospital Selayang, just to name a few. The centre had also received visitors/potential researchers from School of Medicine (Prof. Zaheed), Harvard University; Faculty of Medicine (Prof. Soldano Ferone), University of Pittsburgh, USA; Beijing Genome Institute (Xu Xun), China: African Institute of Biomedical Sciences (Dr. Collen Masimirembwa), Zimbabwe and Faculty of Medicine (Prof. Shakeel Ahmad), University of Washington, USA. There are many more strategic collaboration planned to accelerate our efforts in scientific researches.
One of the aims of iPROMISE is to translate fundamental research into clinical practice. We focus on designing fast and easy pharmacodiagnostic products for clinical uses to allow more effective therapeutic treatments in our own setting. We hope to be able to contribute to improve patients’ outcomes by translating pharmacogenetics knowledge. This indeed would improve the quality of health care besides minimizing the cost due to trial and error and non-targeted therapy. A number of pharmacogenomics tests have been developed in-house that have great potential for the benefit of patients and also for commercialization. Two of the test kits are being discussed and evaluated for commercialization.
Our research endeavours is further acknowledged with the BioNexus Partnering Programme awarded to iPROMISE by Malaysian Biotech Corporation (MBC) in the maintenance of all the high end facilities available in the centre such as the next generation sequencer (GA IIx) and also the LC/MS Q-TOF system. PROMISE would not have been successful without the dedication and hard work of all the iPROMISE members which include the research fellows, postgraduate students and research assistants. The website you are now viewing is the result of a joint effort of all the research fellows and students that reflect the multifaceted capabilities of members of iPROMISE. Thank you to all.
On behalf of iPROMISE, I would also like to express my gratitude to the Vice- Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellors, the Registrar and management, the Bursar and management and to all that had contributed directly and indirectly to the success of iPROMISE. Our special thanks to the present Dean and the previous Dean of Faculty of Pharmacy and all the faculty members for the support that you had rendered to us. The journey of iPROMISE is just beginning!
Professor Dato' Dr. Mohd. Zaki Salleh
Integrative Pharmacogenomics Institute (iPROMISE)