The scientific basis of rational prescribing. A guide to precision clinical pharmacology based on the WHO 6-step method
SourceEuropean Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 77, 5, (2021), pp. 677-683
Article / Letter to editor
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European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
SubjectRadboudumc 16: Vascular damage RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences
BACKGROUND AND METHODS: This opinion paper expanded on the WHO "six-step approach to optimal pharmacotherapy," by detailed exploration of the underlying pharmacological and pathophysiological principles. This exercise led to the identification of a large number of domains of research that should be addressed to make clinical pharmacology progress toward "precision clinical pharmacology," as a prerequisite for precision medicine. RESULT: In order to improve clinical efficacy and safety in patient groups (to guide drug development) as well as in individuals (to guide therapeutic options and optimize clinical outcome), developments in clinical pharmacology should at least tackle the following: (1) molecular diagnostic assays to guide drug design and development and allow physicians to identify the optimal targets for therapy in the individual patient in a quick and precise manner (to guide selection of the right drug for the right patient); (2) the setting up and validation of biomarkers of target engagement and modification as predictors of clinical efficacy and safety; (3) integration of physiological PK/PD models and intermediate markers of pharmacological effects with the natural evolution of the disease to predict the drug dose that most effectively improves clinical outcome in patient groups and individuals, making use of advanced modeling technologies (building on deterministic models, machine-learning, and deep learning algorithms); (4) methodology to validate human or humanized in vitro, ex vivo, and in vivo models for their ability to predict clinical outcome with investigational therapies, including nucleic acids or recombinant genes together with vectors (including viruses or nanoparticles), cell therapy, or therapeutic vaccines; (5) methodological complements to the gold-standard, large Phase 3 randomized clinical trial to provide clinically relevant and reliable data on the efficacy and safety of all treatment options at the population level (pragmatic clinical trials), as well as in small groups of patients (as low as n = 1); (6) regulatory science, so as to optimize the ethical review process, documentation, and monitoring of clinical trials, improve efficiency, and reduce costs of clinical drug development; (7) interventions to effectively improve patient compliance and to rationalize polypharmacy for the reduction of adverse effects and the enhancement of therapeutic interactions; and (8) appraisal of the ecological and societal impact of drug use to safeguard against environmental hazards (following the "One Health" concept) and to reduce drug resistance. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: As can be seen, precision clinical pharmacology aims at being highly translational, which will require very large panels of complementary skills. Interdisciplinary collaborations, including non-clinical pharmacologists, will be key to achieve such an ambitious program.
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