Peter Goodfellow has worked for many years as a research scientist specializing in human genetics. His first independent position was at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London, where he worked for 13 years studying human gene mapping and the genetics of sex determination. In 1992, he was elected to the position of Balfour Professor of Genetics at Cambridge University and he is currently Senior Vice-President of Discovery at the pharmaceutical company SmithKline Beecham. Dr. Goodfellow has consulted widely in the biotechnology industry and was a founder of Hexagen, a genome research company.
From the sequence of our genes to medical utility
Genetics offers the promise of contributing to better medical treatments by improving drug efficacy and safety. The individual response to a drug is affected by genetic variation altering the mechanisms of drug absorption, distribution and metabolism, as well as the functioning of the target receptors or enzymes. Genetic approaches will also improve disease classification by defining the underlying cause of disease. In the short term it may be possible to identify subgroups of patients who will benefit from a drug as well as those most likely to suffer an adverse reaction. In the long term, genetics may be used to identify new targets for therapeutic intervention.