The Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education (CPPE) was established in 1991 and is a not-for-profit organisation, funded by Health Education England. The CPPE is recognised as an effective provider of high-quality learning resources to pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in the NHS workforce across England. Hosted by the University of Manchester, the CPPE currently offers over 270 online training modules.
We spoke with Michal Lada, a CPPE Senior pharmacist in learning development, about their e-learning programme “Introduction to Genomics in Pharmacy.”
Michal told us that the programme was developed with pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and also pre-registration pharmacists in mind. The information was put together by experts in the field including Professor Dyfrig Hughes, co-director of the Centre for Health Economics and Medicines Evaluation at Bangor University. Sonali Sangvhi, Pharmacy Advisor at the NHS England Genomics Unit, as well as Dr Michelle Bishop, Education Development Lead at HEE Genomics Education Programme, provided external reviews of the e-learning. Other experts came from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds related to genomics and pharmacogenomics. Professor Hughes also acts as a programme guardian, ensuring that the content will be kept up to date with the ever-developing science behind this field.
The e-learning programme describes the role of genomics and pharmacogenomics in the healthcare context, discusses some of the terms and concepts used in genomics, and identifies some of the practical, ethical and social issues in implementing genomics in pharmacy. The programme covers the theory behind pharmacogenomics, but also contains inspirational accounts from healthcare professionals, including pharmacists, who work in various sectors related to genomics. Current and future challenges in bringing pharmacogenomics into healthcare are explored, and worldwide examples of the application of pharmacogenomic testing are presented. The programme also introduces the NHS Genomic Medicine Service.
Michal explained the importance of this topic, saying, “pharmacy is one of those healthcare professions that deals with medicines and supports patients in a very person-centered way. Genomics and pharmacogenomics appear more and more to be some of the most important factors in the management of treatments through, for example, the reduction of adverse reactions and improvement in medicines efficacy.”
The Department of Analysis and Bioanalysis of Medicines, working with the Clinical Research Center of the Department of Endocrinology, Diabetology and Internal Medicine, are performing one of the most comprehensive pharmacogenomics studies in Poland.
The main thrust of the project is the complete pharmacogenomics profiling of individuals, using high throughput sequencing (next generation sequencing) methods in order to reveal the specific functional genetic variants, which are responsible for different drug metabolism in patients and healthy individuals.
Alireza Tafazoli, a member of the UK Pharmacogenetics & Stratified Medicine Network, serves as PI for the project. Previous studies have focused on specific genes or drugs, whereas this study, based at the Medical University of Bialystok, will involve a large scale analysis of the genome. This advanced and comprehensive clinical pharmacology and pharmacogenomics project aims to take strides towards personalising medicine.
The P4 Precision Medicine Accelerator programme is led by Professor Phil Beales, Chair of the UCL Institute of Precision Medicine, Professor of Medical and Molecular Genetics at the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health and UCLPartners. The delivery of precision medicine requires several sectors (academia, healthcare and industry) work together. It is the programme's mission to facilitate new and innovative collaborations with academia, industry and healthcare.
UCL have partnered with Capital Enterprise, a body of connectors, influencers, investors and policy-makers, collaborating to serve and super-charge London’s start-up scene.
The P4 programme creates a new and unique ecosystem to facilitate the scale and adoption of precision medicine SMEs by providing access to unparalleled expertise in genomic profiling, drug targeting, disease marker discovery, diagnostics/companion diagnostics, clinical trials design and delivery, software development, engineering, artificial intelligence, regulatory compliance and health data. Cross-faculty support led by the UCL Institute for Precision Medicine, leverages the talent pool of academics at UCL and its partners. Capital Enterprise has experience of supporting and scaling tech SMEs and providing access to unique funding streams to ensure SMEs thrive.
The Programme is a 6-12 month scale up programme (depending on stage), connecting you with academia, industry and the healthcare sectors to create a clear innovation pathway.
To gain the full benefit from this programme, it’s advised that companies:
- Work in the area of Precision Medicine*
- Be early- to mid-stage medical device, diagnostic, or digital health companies
- Not yet closed a Series B
- Be data-driven
- Be able to demonstrate their route to market with a time-frame of 12 – 18 months
- Have already received seed/grant funding
- Show team credibility (at least 3 members with complimentary and relevant expertise)
- Have Data Scientist involvement
- Use of AI
One of our members is setting up a project investigating the genetic determinants of therapeutic response in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer and is looking for potential collaborators with an interest in cancer genomics and therapeutic responses.
Numerous cancer genome resequencing projects have been conducted to better understand the genetic causes of cancer. However, 3’UTR of genes has been largely ignored in the search of novel genetic variants associated with oncogenesis and acquired resistance to therapy. Discovering mechanisms of acquired resistance is vital in finding novel therapies and improve patient outcomes.
It has been shown that miRNAs play role in tumorigenesis by regulating expression of proto-oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes. These small non-coding miRNAs are known to bind to imperfect complementary sequences in the 3’UTR of target mRNAs. Genetic variants in 3’UTR regions might destroy or create a miRNA binding site leading to changes in gene expression. Hence, 3’UTR variation in cancer genes has a potential to affect cancer susceptibility, therapeutic response and disease outcome.
This project seeks to interrogate single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in miRNA binding sites in the 3’UTR of driver genes linked to non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) development as well as the genes associated with drug metabolism with the aim of identifying novel genetic determinants of response to tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs).
Newly identified molecular biomarkers may be useful for future research of therapeutic strategies in NSCLC and would aid patient stratification for cancer treatment.
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