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For more information about the project or to express interest in participating in Phase 2 of the project, please click here to fill in the online form.
Catherine from Burnaby, BC was diagnosed with bipolar disorder more than 25 years ago. Like many people with mental illness, she's taken numerous medications to help manage her illness.
Some of her medications had unwanted side effects. She has suffered several small strokes, ischemic episodes, a damaged kidney, night eating, trouble processing thoughts, has fallen many times and once had a concussion.
The science of pharmacogenomics has the opportunity to use her genetics to uncover which drugs and in what dosage work best for her. Community pharmacy in BC aims to bring this science to patients like Catherine, who are on medications that are impacted by their DNA.
Catherine chose to use her community pharmacy as the place to provide her genetic information for research. Listen to her story:
January 27, 2016
Thirty-three community pharmacies have taken part in North America’s first research project that ultimately aims to bring the science of pharmacogenomics to patients using their community pharmacy. Pharmacogenomics uses a person’s genetics to uncover which drugs and in what dosage work best for them.
The project, called “Genomics for Precision Drug Therapy in the Community Pharmacy”, was funded by the BC Pharmacy Association (BCPhA) and Genome British Columbia (Genome BC) with research being done by a team at the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences.
Across the province 33 community pharmacies recruited 200 volunteer patients to be part of the project. The project set out 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. Until now, this work had been done almost exclusively in cancer agencies or research labs.
“This is where the future of pharmacy is heading – helping patients know which medication works for them and in what dosage before they even start,” said Pharmacist Ajit Johal, at Port Coquitlam’s Wilson Pharmacy, who recruited patients for the project. “I was excited to be part of this innovative project that will ultimately help patients with their everyday medications.”
The project focused on developing robust standard operating procedures for the collection of patient saliva samples, processing and sequencing of DNA at UBC and the development of educational tools used by pharmacists for patient awareness. Community pharmacists finished collecting all 200 saliva samples in late 2015, and UBC researchers finished sequencing samples on January 22. UBC researchers will do a retrospective analysis of DNA information to learn how genetics would have altered the drug dosage patients were prescribed.
“One of the most immediate opportunities for genomics in health care is to guide treatment decisions and reduce the risk of adverse drug reactions. This project is tackling just that by enabling pharmacists the insights needed to match the right medication, at the right dose, to the right patient,” said Dr. Catalina Lopez-Correa, Vice President, Sectors and Chief Scientific Officer, Genome BC. “This work reflects Genome BC’s ambition to translate the value of genomics to end-users in BC and beyond.”
In recent years, pharmacogenomics, or using a person’s genetics to tailor their drug treatment, has only been used to treat cancer or rare diseases. However, there are more than 150 medications – ranging from mental health to heart disease to cancer drugs – that are impacted by a patient’s DNA.
“We showed that pharmacy can be the gateway to personalized medication in our communities,” said Geraldine Vance, CEO of the BC Pharmacy Association. “Regardless of the location – urban or rural – patients had a consistent, quality experience with their community pharmacist as it relates to pharmacogenomics.”
Participating pharmacies were located in Armstrong, Burnaby, Courtenay, Chetwynd, Cranbrook, Enderby, Fort St. John, Hope, Houston (B.C.), Kamloops, Kelowna, Keremeos, Penticton, Port Coquitlam, Port McNeill, Prince George, Surrey, Vancouver, Victoria, West Kelowna and Williams Lake.
1st project of its kind in North America
33 pilot pharmacies across British Columbia
200 patients in British Columbia
Pharmacogenomics is the study of how a person's genetic make-up influences how they respond to a drug and helps guide what doses likely work best for therm.
There are more than 150 medications – ranging from mental health to heart disease to cancer and other drugs -- that are impacted by a person’s DNA.
Locations: Armstrong, Burnaby, Courtenay, Chetwynd, Cranbrook, Enderby, Fort St. John, Hope, Houston, Kamloops, Kelowna, Keremeos, Penticton, Port Coquitlam, Port McNeill, Prince George, Surrey, Vancouver, Victoria, West Kelowna and Williams Lake
Lori Robinson believes her DNA not only unlocks the secret to better prescriptions, but also more convenient health care.
The 57-year-old Kelowna resident is one of 200 British Columbians who volunteered to have her genome sequenced as part of a first-of-its kind research project that paves the way for determining what medications and in what dose work for them using her local pharmacist. Read the full story here.
"Genomics for Precision Drug Therapy in the Community Pharmacy" is a research project funded by the BC Pharmacy Association (BCPhA) and Genome British Columbia (Genome BC) with research being done by a team at the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences.
This project set out to position the community pharmacist as the health-care provider through which patient genetic information can be acquired, assessed and used to guide drug therapy decisions. Until now, this work had been done almost excluively in cancer agencies or research labs.
Launched in the fall of 2014, the project focused on developing rigourous training, robust standard operating procedures and educational materials for patients. During 2015, 33 community pharmacies - in both rural and urban areas - recruited 200 volunteer patients to provide their saliva samples to be used for pharmacogenomics research.
This project -- the first of its kind in North America -- ultimately aims to bring the science of pharmacogenomics to patients using their community pharmacist.