Genome British Columbia - Genome Genomics

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Genomics for Precision Drug Therapy in the Community Pharmacy

Project Leaders:  
Corey Nislow, Derek Desrosiers

Lead Institutions:  
University of British Columbia, BC Pharmacy Association
Research Funding Program: 
User Partnership Program

This research project, the first of its kind in North America, aims to position the pharmacist as the health care provider through which patient genetic information can be acquired, assessed, and used to guide drug therapy decisions.

The genetic make-up, or genome, of each individual can predict how each person responds to drug therapies. Data from a patient’s genome can be used to determine the appropriateness of a particular medication for them without using the data to focus on disease or diagnosis. Rapid, inexpensive, next-generation sequencing (NGS) has already changed the way we treat diseases such as cancer, and now promises to revolutionize health care by providing a comprehensive record of each individual’s genetic disposition. A key challenge that this project will address is to develop a streamlined, efficient means to capture, assess, and deliver that information.

Widespread adoption of this technology will help usher in a new era of personalized medicine – targeting the right treatment to the right patient at the right time with the potential to reduce drug therapy costs and manage health care sustainability.

During the project’s first phase, Dr. Corey Nislow will develop robust operating procedures for sample collection, processing and sequencing. Training and educational tools for patient awareness will also be developed. The project will focus on the drug warfarin, used widely for anticoagulation therapy, with information extracted from patient saliva samples.

If Phase I successfully demonstrates the feasibility of community pharmacist-based pharmacogenomic testing, Phase II would be launched in a broader base of community pharmacies and offer patients the opportunity to provide their genetic information to guide therapeutic dosing decisions.