UVA Health researchers have developed a powerful new tool to understand how medications affect men and women differently, and that will help lead to safer, more effective drugs in the future.
Women are known to suffer a disproportionate number of liver problems from medications. At the same time, they are typically underrepresented in drug testing. To address this, the UVA scientists have developed sophisticated computer simulations of male and female livers and used them to reveal sex-specific differences in how the tissues are affected by drugs.
The new model has already provided unprecedented insights into the biological processes that take place in the liver, the organ responsible for detoxifying the body, in both men and women. But the model also represents a powerful new tool for drug development, helping ensure that new medications will not cause harmful side effects.
“There are incredibly complex networks of genes and proteins that control how cells respond to drugs,” said UVA researcher Jason Papin, PhD, one of the model’s creators. “We knew that a computer model would be required to try to answer these important clinical questions, and we’re hopeful these models will continue to provide insights that can improve healthcare.”
Read the full press release in the UVA Health newsroom.