Personalizing Medicine in Nigeria by Tailoring the Research Process: Points to Consider for Genomic Research
Simisola O. Akintola, Shawneequa L. Callier and Temidayo O. Ogundiran
Affiliation: Department of Clinical Research and Leadership / George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, 2100-W Pennsylvania Avenue, NW – Ste. 5054, Washington, DC 20037, USA.
Keywords: Africa, ethics, genomic research, international, Nigeria, personalized medicine.
There is an increasing number of genomic research studies occurring in African countries, as well as recently
enacted funding mechanisms to build capacity to conduct genomic research in Africa. While there is extensive literature
and debate about the various national and international laws and policies related to genomic research in general, most
discussions focus on developed and high-income countries. Genomic research, however, is a global endeavor requiring
enrollment, data-sharing, and data-storage policies that involve socially, economically, and ethnically diverse populations.
On one hand, the translation of genomic medicine into personalized clinical care will fail globally if as many different
populations as possible are not adequately represented at the research stage. On the other, future internationally sponsored
genomic research projects that could translate into personalized medicine applications will be in jeopardy in communities
where genomic researchers neglect to consider local laws, beliefs, and needs. This paper discusses the opportunities and
challenges for investigators and research institutions seeking to conduct genomic research in Nigeria. Specifically, we
highlight the potential role of Nigerian laws, such as Nigeria’s National Code of Health Research Ethics and the role of
local bodies, such as Community Advisory Committees, in promoting genomic research approaches that are appropriate
for the local environment. This article thus contributes to a growing body of literature on global bioethics and personalized
medicine in resource-limited settings.
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