A program at London Health Sciences Centre to better prescribe drugs to patients is planning on going hospital-wide thanks to funding from within the building.
The LHSC Auxiliary, the hospital’s volunteer organization, pledged $2.24-million to support the personalized medicine program in an announcement made Thursday.
Each patient reacts to prescription drugs differently, and the program suggests that treating patients based on their own DNA will help to decrease adverse drug reactions.
Chief Clinical Pharmacologist Dr. Richard Kim tells AM980 if something like this were tried a decade ago, $2.24-million wouldn’t be enough.
“Technology has really expanded significantly, especially in the genomic technologies,” he said. “It’s become so much more efficient and cheaper to be able to know our individual genetic makeup. But there’s been so little done in terms of using all that information to look after real world patients in a whole hospital setting.”
According to the Human Genome Project, it took nearly $100-million to map the genome of a single person in 2001.
Now, it costs just $1,000 for a single person.
The personalized medicine team at LHSC was originally being used on a consultative basis, until this funding. It was the first clinic in canada, established in 2008.
So far they’ve been incorporating the new technologies for blood thinners, cholesterol-lowering medications, and medications to treat heart conditions, inflammation, depression, and some others to treat cancer.
Dr. Kim adds that adverse drug reactions are a leading cause of hospital death.
“Current data for adverse drug reactions is quite significant. Some people, at least in North America, have estimated adverse drug reactions is the fourth-leading cause of death in hospitals.”
Traditional methods of precribing medicine factors in a number of different traits among patient groups. This works for a significant portion of patients, but not for everybody.
President of London Health Sciences Centre Auxiliary Louise McKnight said the decision to donate the money to the personalized medicine program was nearly unanimous.
“It was 99.9 per cent, it was nearly unanimous. Because a lot of these ladies and gentlemen have experienced (this) through the years. So this is what they want their kids, grandkids, coming up not to have to experience being in the hospital too long.”
The LHSC Auxiliary has supported a number of hospital initiatives for more than 92 years.
Pictured from left to right: LHSC Auxiliary President Louise McKnight, Chief Clinical Officer Laurie Gould, London Health Sciences Foundation Chair Tod Warner, Chief Clinical Pharmacologist Dr. Richard Kim, LHSF President & CEO John MacFarlane