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Canada PGx Study Seeks Markers for Drug Reactions in Children

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — Canada will start a new pharmacogenomics program to seek predictive genomic markers that could indicate adverse drug reactions in children by harnessing information from an ADR research network that stretches across the country.

The aim of the C$3.9 million ($3.2 million) project is to find out why some drugs cause ADRs in some children and not others, and then to create diagnostic tests to predict and prevent specific reactions, Genome BC said today.

The Canadian Pharmacogenomics Network for Drug Safety (CPNDS) is collecting data from nine of the country’s largest children’s hospitals and will perform large-scale genomic and proteomic studies to identify genes linked to certain ADRs. The results of these studies will be used to develop personalized dosing recommendations.

The research initially will focus on three specific ADRs, including deafness that is induced by the cancer drug Cisplatin, cardiotoxicity caused by the drug anthracycline, which is used to treat leukemia, and infant mortality that is associated with codeine use by the mother.

The project is funded by Genome BC, Pfizer Canada, the University of British Columbia, the Canadian Institute of Health Research, and the Canadian Foundation for Innovation. Institutions involved in the project include the UBC Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics, Child and Family Research Institute, BC Children’s Hospital and BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre, the Centre for Healthcare Innovation and Improvement, and the University of British Columbia.

According to Health Canada, over 50 percent of newly approved therapeutics have serious ADRs that are discovered after they reach the market, and 75 percent of medications have not been tested in children.

In Canada, ADRs lead to between 10,000 and 22,000 deaths and over C$13 billion in spending per year, Genome BC said.

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