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sector_ico_Health_trans Human Health

Genomics for Precision Drug Therapy in the Community Pharmacy

  • Project Leaders: Corey Nislow, Derek Desrosiers, Ron Reid
  • Institutions: University of British Columbia (UBC)
  • Budget: $400000
  • Program/Competition: User Partnership Program
  • Genome Centre(s): Genome British Columbia
  • Fiscal Year: 2014
  • Status: Closed

Testing a person’s genome can predict how they will respond to certain medications — if the medications are effective and if dosages need changing. Rapid, lower-cost, next-generation sequencing 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 for drug therapies.

This project aimed 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. A key challenge that this project addressed was to develop a streamlined, efficient means to capture, assess, and deliver genetic information through the community pharmacy.

In total, 34 pharmacists across 31 BC pharmacies were trained and certified to participate; 200 patient samples were collected and sequenced by whole exome sequencing along with 200 control samples.

Standard operating procedures for patient consent, sample collection, sequencing and genetic analysis, data processing and secure storage were developed. Polymerase chain reaction genotyping was completed with selected samples and a warfarin panel was finalized. Expressions of interest were gained from investors, health care providers and patients. The project gained significant media exposure such as CBC and the Globe & Mail.

Where this phase one project focused on patient education, developing standard operating procedures, and collecting samples from patients in their communities, a second phase of this project was funded by Genome BC, to expand the scope of medications, as well as provide a consultation and reporting back to the patient, and inform their health-care provider as required to help guide drug therapy decisions.