In the News – Pharmacies to Aid and Benefit in Pharmacogenomics Research

February 19, 2016
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The use of pharmacogenomics may be of reach to everyday consumers in the near future. In one of the first projects of its kind in North America, 33 community pharmacies in British Columbia, Canada, will be working with 200 volunteer patients to provide them with personalized medication.

The program named “Genomics for Precision Drug Therapy in the Community Pharmacy” was funded by the BC Pharmacy Association (BCPhA) and Genome British Columbia (Genome BC). Research and analysis for the project is currently being performed at the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

During the course of the project, the volunteers had their saliva samples collected by pharmacists at participating locations. These samples were then sent to researchers at the university for DNA sequencing. Researchers at this stage of the program are currently analyzing all the samples in order to better understand how proper drug dosages can be determined through looking into the volunteers’ genetic makeup. Once the analysis is complete, they will send the results back to the pharmacies where samples were initially collected. The pharmacists can then use the data to be able to know the proper drugs needed to give their patients as well as the proper dosage amounts.

Pharmacogenomics has in recent years been used in finding proper drug dosages and treatments for cancers and rare diseases. However, it has not been used for other kinds of medication such as for treating mental health. Personalized treatment can be beneficial for all patients, but finding a way to reach-out to all of them for sequencing can be tricky.

This project could potentially tackle this problem through the use of pharmacies as a gateway to reach local communities. Having access to personalized medicine can provide many advantages. By allowing pharmacies to offer this to everyday patients, one of the greatest benefits will be the opportunity to greatly diminish the chances of adverse drug effects.

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