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Workshop Report

Since 2010, projects representing over $234M of investment - in collaboration with over 115 partners - have been made through the CIHR Personalized Medicine Signature Initiative. The overall goal of the CIHR Personalized Medicine Signature Initiative is to enhance health outcomes through patient stratification approaches by integrating evidence-based medicine and precision diagnostics into clinical practice. This initiative offers hope to many areas of health including cancer, metabolic and cardiovascular diseases, rare diseases, and infectious diseases.

As the first cycle of investment is well underway, there is currently a need to explore new avenues and to build on past investments in order to maximize the impact of this Signature Initiative. Linkage with activities supported through other Signature and Strategic Initiatives of CIHR (e.g. Canadian Epigenetics, Environment and Health Research Consortium, Drug Safety and Effectiveness Network) could also contribute to the development of these new activities that will be designed in a landscape that has evolved since the inception of the Personalized Medicine Signature Initiative.

Pharmacogenomics has been identified as one of these avenues. Pharmacogenomics is the study of how variations in the human genome affect the response to medications. Confounding factors, such as sex, age or co-medications, provide additional complexities. This field of research – both in term of basic/clinical research as well as in term of implementation research – is likely to have a high impact on improving health outcomes and the effectiveness of health services. Identifying and preventing sex-drug-gene interactions and other confounding factors will help achieve this impact. To improve the health of Canadian men, women, boys and girls, this initiative aims to promote more appropriate drug safety surveillance, the reduction of adverse drug events, tailored drug treatments, adjustments in dose/scheduling, and avoidance of ineffective drug use.

This conference is co-organized by CIHR Institute of Cancer Research, Institute of Gender and Health and Institute of Genetics. Our goal of is to impact patient outcomes by better understanding sex-drug-gene interactions and their related health consequences. The Sex, Drugs and Genes Conference will provide an opportunity to open a dialogue to inform the development of pharmacogenomics activities (e.g. research funding, platforms development, implementation facilitators) with key stakeholders, including members of academia, the healthcare sector, regulators and industry.

The three main objectives of this conference supporting our desired outcome are:

  • To identify key issues faced in the implementation of mature pharmacogenomics approaches, including target drugs and populations, as well as systems and healthcare processes.
  • To develop a comprehensive view of the Canadian pharmacogenomics landscape;
  • To identify key research investment areas.