Personalized medicine is coming to 22 B.C. pharmacies selected from across the province to participate in the first-of-its-kind study, Genomics for Precision Drug Therapy in the Community Pharmacy.

The unique project will focus on using community pharmacists to collect saliva samples to test how an individual’s DNA can affect medication selection and dosage. Funding comes from the BC Pharmacy Association (BCPhA) and Genome BC, with research done by a team at the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Read: Pharma logic

“Pharmacists, who are experts in medication, are the healthcare practitioners best positioned to collect and use patient genetic information to help make medication selection and dosing decisions,” said Geraldine Vance, CEO of the BC Pharmacy Association, in a statement. “Over time, the aim is to use DNA to make decisions about the most commonly-prescribed medications, making personalized medicine accessible for all patients in the province.”

The selected pharmacies will recruit 200 patients who are currently taking warfarin to be in the study. Ultimately, the hope is that any British Columbian will be able to go to one of the more than 1,200 pharmacies in the province to have DNA testing.

“With the modern genome technology used in this project, the idea of personalized medicine can become a reality,” added UBC lead researcher Dr. Corey Nislow. “We know there are more than 150 medications that are impacted by an individual’s DNA. This project is about using that genetic information to make decisions about which medications are right for a patient – the right drug, in the right dosage at the right time.”

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