Why Sex Matters (in Disease Susceptibility): Q&A with John Quackenbush

In a recent interview published in Harvard Public Health Magazine, Department Chair John Quackenbush discusses his lab’s research looking at how sex differences affect disease risk and progression. Their work has shown that men and women diverge not only in their vulnerability to diseases, but also in the way their bodies respond to drug treatments.

The implications of sexual dimorphism could shape clinical medicine and the scientific process itself. According to Quackenbush “What’s exciting about our finding is that it suggests that we should investigate how to subtly alter these networks to increase the chances that a patient, male or female, responds to therapy in a way that improves response and decreases side effects.” With respect to the future he adds, “In twenty years our models of human disease won’t be perfect, but they will give us a better ability to predict disease risk, disease trajectory, and optimal therapies for any individual patient.” Read the full Q&A here.