The pharmacy team are experts in medicines and make a significant contribution to the safe, effective and cost-effective use of medicines. Genomics is another tool for medicine optimisation, allowing precision diagnostics, avoidance of adverse events, and personalisation of treatment and dosage.

When might they offer a test or suggest a referral for testing?

Advancements in technology will change the way that healthcare is delivered over the coming years. Current examples of genomics guiding optimisation of drug dosing and selection include:

Targeted treatments
For example, Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator (CFTR) modulators, or targeted anti-cancer therapies.
Predicting antibiotic resistance
For example, Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) to identify different strains of Tuberculosis (TB) and detect drug resistance.
Treatment stratification based on precision diagnostics
For example, monogenic forms of diabetes have specific treatments that differ from the standard care provided for type 1 and type 2 diabetes, making the appropriate diagnosis essential.
Pharmacogenomics
Pharmacogenomics is the study and clinical application of the genomic determinants of drug response and is an evolving area of high importance for the pharmacy team. There are several examples where pharmacogenomic testing is already benefiting NHS patients. For example, pharmacogenomics is used to understand whether a person can be safely prescribed the chemotherapy drugs 5-flurouracil and capecitabine for certain cancers (e.g. breast and colorectal). However, there are many more commonly prescribed medicines, including painkillers, cholesterol lowering agents and antidepressants where pharmacogenomic-based prescribing could be used in the future to guide medicine choice and dosing.

 

Networks

Sign up to find out about the latest news and events from the NEY GMSA, available educational opportunities, involvement with local audits and research, how to develop your leadership and clinical expertise in genomic medicine, and become part of a community of genomic champions.

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The Royal Pharmaceutical Society offers a range of educational resources to support understanding of the basic principles and underlying use of genetic information to help inform prescribing.

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The UK Network was set up to develop research collaborations between academics, clinicians, industry, and regulatory sectors.

The aim of these partnerships is to promote the use of stratified/personalised medicine in the clinic, to offer patients the most appropriate and safe drug, at the optimal dose, at the start of their treatment. Presentations from experts in the area covering core concepts through to cutting edge research (free to access) are also available.

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British Oncology Pharmacy Association (BOPA) has a special interest group for genomics to promote excellence in the pharmaceutical care of patients by supporting the membership to systematically embed genomic medicine and pharmacogenomics into routine care.

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What training is available?

Free access for General Pharmaceutical Council-registered pharmacy professionals. This learning programme has been designed to introduce you to genomics and pharmacogenomics, and to highlight the opportunities they can bring to the provision of person-centred care in your area of practice. It will also allow you to explore the application of genomics and pharmacogenomics in the larger healthcare context.

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This lecture-based course provides a comprehensive overview of the analytical strategies and techniques used in pharmacogenomics, and outlines how a patient’s genetic make-up can determine their response to medication.

This module forms part of the HEE Genomics Education Programme’s Master’s in Genomic Medicine framework.

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A short online course that explores the fundamental principles of genomics and the applications in healthcare.

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A blog from the Genomic Education Programme, which explores pharmacogenomics and how clinicians can take advantage of advances in genomics to better predict how their patient will respond to medication.

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A blog from the Genomic Education Programme, which explores why different people react differently to different drugs, and where genomics comes in.

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A blog from the Genomic Education Programme, which explores the reasons why it will take time to implement pharmacogenomics in the health service.

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Resources

Provides recommendations for embedding pharmacogenomics in the NHS and testing patients for genetic variations that affect how their body responds to medicines.

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Pharmacogenomics has an important role to play in informing an individual’s treatment options and optimising outcomes for patients.

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The National Genomic Test Directory specifies which genomic tests are commissioned by the NHS in England, the technology by which they are available, and the patients who will be eligible for access to a test.

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The Professional Record Standards Body (PRSB) have developed guidance about how to alert prescribers about genetic information which may affect the medication a person takes, the dosage, or the way in which they need to take it.

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How can I learn more?


Contact us to learn more

[email protected]


Our team are:

Emma Groves, Lead Pharmacist NEY GMSA and Pharmacy Subject Matter Expert – Genomics education programme
Joanne Wragg, Director of Pharmacy and Medicines Management and NEY GMSA Director of Pharmacy and Medicines Management