June 06, 2023
Have you ever wondered why the same medication can affect people differently? The reason is in our genes. Each person’s genetic makeup affects how they respond to drugs. The study of these interactions is called pharmacogenomics, or PGx.
Today, pharmacogenomics is being applied to improve the safety and efficacy of many therapeutics and treatments. Because we all respond differently, there is a growing recognition that medication is not one-size-fits-all. Indeed, 99% of people carry at least one medically actionable variant that influences medication selection. As a result, healthcare providers are increasingly coming across pharmacogenomic testing in their daily practice and they need to understand how to use it properly. Clinician education is highlighted in two projects funded by Genome BC that are helping integrate pharmacogenomics into clinical practice in BC.
The Go-PGx project supports the uptake of pharmacogenomic testing in pediatric oncology in order to better manage adverse drug reactions. Clinician education is an essential part of this project. Recognizing that different audiences require different approaches, multiple strategies are being used to engage clinicians in this project. The project is developing clinical practice guidelines and has created an educational curriculum for half-day workshops, conducted site visits to provide in-person training, organized monthly clinical rounds to review cases of interest and holding one-on-one meetings with clinical and health leadership. These education strategies are being adapted over time to address the changing nature of clinical practice as well as differences between participating academic health centres. See how this work helped protect a young girl from the negative side effects of her cancer treatments in the short video, “The right drug, at the right dose, to the right patient, at the right time – Genome BC.”
Interviews with health care professionals, policy experts and patients, as part of the Pharmacogenomics for Depression Study, also highlighted that clinical practice guidelines and clinician education will be essential to supporting implementation efforts. This study has built a flexible simulation model to ask questions about how different factors impact the costs and benefits of implementing pharmacogenomics for patients and the health system in BC. Listen to an episode of the award-winning genomic science podcast Nice Genes! titled “The Right Meds” to learn more about the Pharmacogenomics in Depression Study and how this work is directed not only by health care professionals, but also by patients with lived experiences.
Resources about Pharmacogenomics
People have a lot of questions about pharmacogenomics. Here are some resources from Genome BC to help people learn more about it.
- Pharmacogenomics is highlighted in Fact #11 by our 20 Cool Genomics Facts Video
- Geneskool’s Pharmacogenomics Video, walks through an introduction to pharmacogenomic testing and its connection to science, society, government, and industry. It is part of the Genomics and Society workshop that can be facilitated either remotely or in person. Learn more on how you can book this workshop here.
Other resources we’re excited about
- Pharmacogenomics Learning Series – ISCC-PEG
A free set of online modules to help healthcare providers integrate pharmacogenomics into their clinical practice. Two modules are now available on PGx Nomenclature and Resources, with six more on the way.
- CPIC – Clinical Pharmacogenetics Implementation Consortium
Detailed gene/drug clinical practice guidelines using standardized formats to translate genetic laboratory test results into actionable prescribing decisions for affected drugs.
A searchable database for clinicians and researchers that curates knowledge about the impact of genetic variation on drug response.
- Codeine and Breastfeeding – GECKO
Learn how a mother’s genes can impact how they process morphine, which can affect the levels passed on to their newborns in breastmilk.