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Clinical Pharmacology



Clinical pharmacology is the study of drugs in humans. It is underpinned by the basic science of pharmacology, with added focus on the application of pharmacological principles and methods in the real world (from R&D to patient care). The discipline is heavily involved in the research, development an application of (new) medicines. Over the last two decades the discipline has evolved considerably due to a couple of simultaneously occurring developments.
Each of these developments will be addressed in the course. It will for instance be reviewed why there has been an exponential increase in the identification of possible ‘drugable’ targets and why this has not necessarily translated into drug targets. Another interesting development is the greater emphasis on biomarkers to assess drug action in humans. This development, its advantages and its problems will be discussed. The role of pharmacogenetics and pharmacogenomics in current drug development as well as the exercises that are performed to link drug concentrations to drug effects will be addressed in this course. These developments will pave the road to the era of ‘personalized medicine’. This term has been coined to indicate personally tailored treatment to each individual patient. The aim of the course is gaining more insight in the application of novel techniques that are applied in pre-clinical and clinical drug research. Finally, the course aims to make the participants familiar with the current legal and regulatory requirements for drug research in humans.

Course Objectives

The main objective of the course is gaining more insight in the application of novel techniques that are applied in pre-clinical and clinical drug research.

As a result of this module you:

  • understand basic pharmacological principles from pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics

  • know the process of drug development and can distinguish the different phases

  • understand the basic concept of pharmacogenomics and know its implications for pharmacotherapy

  • are able to set-up a simple clinical trial, write a research synopsis and execute simple protocol related activities

  • understand basic clinical pharmacological principles and communicate this knowledge to laymen in a state-of-the art way

Mode of instruction

The course program will consist of plenary (informative) lectures, workgroups, self-study assignments and a classroom experiment.
Although some drugs and treatments of diseases will be discussed, the course will not emphasize on pharmacotherapeutics in a broad sense.

Assessment method

The final grade is composed of four parts: an individual mark for the quiz (1/4), an individual mark for the protocol/review assignment and participation in week 1 (1/4), a mark for the final presentation (1/4) and a mark for the report (1/4). The latter two are assessed as group marks. The digital quiz will have to be taken and the participants need to pass the mark ‘sufficient’, i.e. 60% correct.