An Enderby business has been selected as one of 20 B.C. pharmacies participating in a research project that aims to help bring personalized medicine to patients through community pharmacists.
The Genomics for Precision Drug Therapy in the Community Pharmacy project is the first of its kind in North America. It is funded by the B.C. Pharmacy Association and Genome B.C., with research done by a team at the University of B.C.’s Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences.
The research project focuses on using community pharmacists to collect saliva samples to test how an individual’s DNA can impact medication selection and dosage.
The project will develop standard operating procedures for the collection of patient saliva samples by community pharmacists as well as procedures for the processing and sequencing of the DNA in these samples by UBC researchers.
“I’m really pleased that our location in Enderby has been selected for this innovative project,” said Greg Becotte, pharmacy manager at Enderby Pharmacy and Wellness Centre.
“It demonstrates that genome science can impact patient care in all communities, not just in larger urban centres. In smaller communities like Enderby, we are easily able to collaborate closely with our local physicians and nurse practitioners. Any information that can be learned from genome science can be used to better the health of our community.”
Across the province, the 20 pharmacies will recruit about 200 volunteer patients, who are currently taking the anticoagulation drug warfarin, to be part of the study.
UBC researchers will do a retrospective analysis of DNA information to learn how genetics would have altered the drug dosage patients were prescribed.
“Pharmacists, who are experts in medication, are the health-care practitioners best positioned to collect and use patient genetic information to help make medication selection and dosing decisions,” said Geraldine Vance, chief executive officer of the B.C. Pharmacy Association.
“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.”