Okanagan pharmacies participate in genomics project

One-of-a-kind research project on science of pharmacogenomics involved two drug stores in West Kelowna and one in Kelowna.

  • Jan. 27, 2016 9:00 a.m.

Three Central Okanagan 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 UBC 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.

“I think we’ve always known that this is where the future of pharmacy is headed— helping patients know which medication works for them and in what dosage before they start,” said Cameron Bonell, pharmacist at Lakeside Medicine Centre Pharmacy in Kelowna. “I was excited to be part of this project that ultimately will 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.”

Along with Lakeside Medicine Centre Pharmacy, Andreen’s Medicine Centre in West Kelowna and Remedy’s Rx in Kelowna participated in the project. Other pharmacies that participated in the project were located in Armstrong, Burnaby, Courtenay, Chetwynd, Cranbrook, Enderby, Fort St. John, Hope, Houston, Kamloops, Keremeos, Penticton, Port Coquitlam, Port McNeill, Prince George, Surrey, Vancouver, Victoria and Williams Lake.

Just Posted

Truck destroyed by fire in West Kelowna

A fire destroyed a truck at Wheel’s Truck Parts Friday

Central Okanagan MLAs plan public meeting on new B.C. taxes

Speculation Tax and Employer Health Tax will be the subject of panel discussion in Kelowna March 25

Sally Ann in Kelowna looking for emergency team volunteers

Information session planned for April 5 at the organization’s Community Church

Driver smashes into Kelowna Buckerfield’s

It took out part of glass front door, but there were no injuries to driver or anyone inside.

Okanagan – Shuswap weekend weather

Plan your weekend better with a weather update from Black Press media

What’s happening

Find out what events are taking place this weekend in the Okanagan and Shuswap

Salmon Arm community cheers on Natalie Wilkie as she wins first gold medal

Local skier tops the podium in 7.5km race at the PyeongChang Paralympics

Experts: Society has a role in trying to prevent domestic violence

Experts are speaking out following the murder of a woman and her son in Ontario

Northern lights chasers in Canada discover new type named ‘Steve’

Phenomenon linked to a powerful current created by charged particles in Earth’s upper atmosphere

Progress on fixing Phoenix pay system backlog could be short-lived: Ottawa

Feds have said they won’t try to recover money overpaid until all outstanding issues are fixed

Correction: Museum fashion tour to be held Saturday

A mistake was in Wednesday’s edition of the newspaper incorrectly stating a different day

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Washington state backs B.C. in pipeline dispute

Governor Jay Inslee says he is ‘allied’ with the province on Trans Mountain expansion projection

SAY WHAT? Readers weigh in on high-speed rail to U.S.

B.C. to contribute $300,000 to a million-dollar business study on the proposed project

Most Read