VANCOUVER, BC--(Marketwired - September 23, 2016) - There are more than 150 currently identified medications, for diseases ranging from mental health to heart disease to cancer therapies, that can negatively affect a patient because of his or her DNA. Without knowing a person's genetic variants up to 60 per cent of prescribed medications don't do what they are supposed to do. Adverse drug reactions are both costly and may be dangerous -- something needs to change.

To address this situation Dr. Martin Dawes and his multi-disciplinary team of doctors, pharmacists, and epidemiologists at the University of British Columbia, have developed TreatGx, a unique medication decision support system. Using the highest levels of evidence, TreatGX identifies personalized medication options for multiple common conditions. The options are presented to the doctor in an easy-to-read format with helpful information such as dosing instructions, potential adverse reactions, and medication cost comparison. Over the past year, the team has been working to validate this tool and the results were published today in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

There were a 191 patients recruited for the project by physicians and pharmacists. Genotyping was undertaken for each participant, and resulted in 189 (99%) patients with genetic reports linked to the decision-support program. There was at least one actionable genotype in 96.8% of samples. Over a three-month period, physicians and pharmacists used the medication support system 236 times. The outcome of the paper reported that a clinical decision support system with integrated data from pharmacogenetic tests may enable personalized prescribing within primary care.

"TreatGX currently includes 24 common conditions such as hypertension, depression, and diabetes," said Dr. Martin Dawes, Head, Department of Family Practice at UBC. "This is a made in BC software system that allows the physician and patient to select tailored drug options for multiple conditions."

"There are over 200,000 severe adverse drug events annually in Canada, costing upwards of $14 billion, which places a significant burden on the Canadian healthcare system," explains Dr. Catalina Lopez-Correa, Chief Scientific Officer and VP, Sector Development at Genome BC. "Even if physicians have the pharmacogenetic information, incorporating it into their system is a significant challenge. We are proud to support research that is helping doctors access and streamline genetic information to further enhance patient outcomes."

Valued at over $720,000, this novel project was funded through Genome BC's User Partnership Program. It was also supported by The Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, TELUS Health, the Personalized Medicine Initiative, Roche Canada, AstraZeneca, GSK, Janssen, Merck, Pfizer and Innovative Medicines.

For more information on TreatGx visit

Glossary of terms:

Genotyping: The examination of specific piece of DNA contained in an organism. The genotype, as well as environmental and inherited epigenetic factors, determine the final characteristics.

Pharmacogenomics: A branch of pharmacology concerned with using DNA and amino acid sequence data to inform drug development and testing. An important application of pharmacogenomics is correlating individual genetic variation with drug responses.

About Genome British Columbia:
Genome British Columbia leads genomics innovation on Canada's West Coast and facilitates the integration of genomics into society. A recognized catalyst for government and industry, Genome BC invests in research, entrepreneurship and commercialization in life sciences to address challenges in key sectors such as health, forestry, fisheries, aquaculture, agri-food, energy, mining and environment. Genome BC partners with many national and international public and private funding organizations to drive BC's bioeconomy. In addition to research, entrepreneurship and commercialization programs, Genome BC is committed to fostering an understanding and appreciation of the life sciences among teachers, students and the public.

Contact Information:

Jennifer Boon
Communications Manager, Sectors
Genome BC
Mobile: 778-327-8374
#genomebc @genomebc