Agilent Technologies Inc. and the Agilent Technologies Foundation have announced that Russell S. Thomas, Ph.D., of the Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences has been selected for an Agilent Thought Leader Award to support his work developing methods to predict drug-induced liver injury.
The award includes funding from the Agilent Technologies Foundation as well as instrumentation from the company, including a 6460 triple quadrupole LC/MS and an Agilent microarray scanner.
Dr. Thomas is director of the Institute for Chemical Safety Sciences at the Hamner, where researchers are applying a systems biology approach in an effort to predict drug-induced liver injury.
This includes integration of data from transcriptomics, metabolomics, and genome-wide association studies.
Drug-induced liver injury is a primary reason regulators prohibit drugs or pull them off the market. One of the goals of Dr. Thomas’ work is to eventually be able to identify patients with genetic susceptibility to liver damage from certain drugs. This could reduce injuries and even allow some previously banned drugs to be reintroduced.
“Drug-induced liver injury is a major problem in the development of safe and effective therapeutics,” said Dr. Thomas.
Dr. Thomas continued, “Current analyses of the genome sequence data of patients that have experienced drug-induced liver injury have failed to identify any susceptibility factors that are common across multiple drugs. I am grateful to receive the Agilent Thought Leader Award as an acknowledgment of the importance of the work we are conducting at the Hamner Institutes. The award will allow us to evaluate whether these susceptibility factors can be identified when the drugs are grouped based on the signaling pathways they activate in the liver and ultimately predict which patients may be at risk.”
“The promise of personalized medicine is getting closer every day, and this is why we appreciate the opportunity to help make a real difference by supporting work like Dr. Thomas’,” said Gustavo Salem, vice president and general manager of Agilent’s Biological Systems Division.
Salem continued, “We’ve been strong proponents of an integrated biology approach to solving important health problems for quite some time, and this research at the Hamner aligns well with Agilent’s goals.”
The Agilent Thought Leader Program promotes fundamental advances in the life sciences by contributing financial support, products and expertise to the research of thought leaders.