Genetic testing to customize drug decisions

Pharmacists partner in project to develop 'personalized medicine' (with video)

Corey Nislow.



Four Metro Vancouver pharmacies are part of a research project that aims to eventually offer personalized medicine to patients who undergo genetic testing.

UBC researchers are partnering with community pharmacists to collect DNA from saliva samples to test how an indvidual’s genetic makeup can alter decisions on medication choice and dosage to make their use more effective.

The B.C. Pharmacy Association says its $400,000 18-month project with Genome BC, dubbed Genomics for Precision Drug Therapy in the Community Pharmacy, should bring the promise of personalized medicine a major step closer by sequencing each patient’s genome.

Genetic testing is often discussed as a way to assess disease risk, but the field of pharmacogenomics seeks to determine how a person’s genes influence their response to certain medications.

Corey Nislow“We’re focusing on the mechanics of getting the genome from a pharmacy, bringing it into the lab, and decoding it with a high enough accuracy and in a fast enough time frame that you could actually benefit from that information,” said Corey Nislow, professor in the department of pharmaceutical sciences at UBC.

He said the technology holds promise to soon start actually “personalizing medicine” for patients in B.C.

“We have to start bending the cost curve in health care, and one way to do that is to stop giving people drugs that can’t benefit them, and get them on the right dose faster.”

A total of 200 volunteers currently taking the drug warfarin are to be recruited at 22 B.C. pharmacies, including two in Vancouver and one each in Surrey, Burnaby and Port Coquitlam. (For a list of B.C. pharmacies involved see http://www.bcpharmacy.ca/genome.)

Once the patients’ DNA is decoded and indexed, researchers expect they will be able to use the data to determine how to custom tailor the use of other drugs.

Patients involved in the project won’t get any information back on their DNA – it’s strictly for research purposes.

– with files from Andrea Peacock, Victoria News

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sources, City of White Rock launch Thanksgiving Food Drive

Volunteers, donations sought for annual food-bank initiative

Future of Massey Tunnel replacement in the air after snap election called

On Friday the ministry said it was identifying property ‘necessary for future infrastructure improvements’

COVID-19 exposures at Surrey schools: An updated list

Fraser Health has created a new webpage listing COVID-19 cases in schools

Surrey man charged with series of break-ins in Surrey, Langley

David Sinh Liu is facing 10 charges related to seven recent break-ins

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

Group wants Parliament, courts to hold social media to same standard as publishers

Daniel Bernhard made the comments shortly after Friends of Canadian Broadcasting released a research paper

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

COVID-19 testing lineup wraps around block in Chilliwack

Testing lineup includes seniors, children and their parents as demand seems to surge

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C.’s Chase Claypool catches first NFL touchdown pass

Abbotsford grad establishes new record for longest scrimmage TD by a Canadian

B.C. has highest number of active COVID-19 cases per capita, federal data shows

B.C. currently has 1,803 active cases after weeks of COVID-19 spikes in the province

Most Read