Centre of Excellence in Personalised Medicine (Cepmed)

Centre of Excellence in Personalised Medicine (Cepmed)
Government of Canada

Government of Canada

September 26, 2011 14:50 ET

Cepmed: Survey shows that Canadian Physicians Support the Use of Genetic Testing to Personalise and Improve Treatment, Despite Barriers to Adoption

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Sept. 26, 2011) - Personalised medicine, the tailoring of medical treatment and prevention to the characteristics of each patient, is currently driving a shift in medical practice. Increasingly, drug therapy can be optimized based on an individual's genetic profile by predicting drug response, drug tolerability or risk of side effects.

"Oncologists routinely use molecular testing to select treatment for patients with breast cancer. Increasingly, molecular tests are available for selecting the most appropriate treatment in other cancers such as non-small cell lung cancer and colorectal cancer."– Dr. Charles Butts – Cross Cancer Institute

To provide baseline data on genetic testing as a key element of the practice of personalised medicine, Canadian physicians were surveyed to determine their perceptions and experiences in this area. A total of 363 physicians participated, with representation from all provinces. The survey results, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), provide insight into how the Canadian health care system can more effectively implement new practices and speed improvements in patient care.

"Personalised medicine is changing the face of medical practice. The findings of the survey demonstrate that physicians are interested in learning more about genetic testing and getting access to information and tools. Genetic testing is complex and we have a responsibility to enable health care providers to be as well-informed and supported as possible." – Dr. Clarissa Desjardins – CEO, Cepmed

A majority of physicians agreed that genetic testing and personalised medicine can influence treatment decision-making and improve patient outcomes. Many oncologists reported practicing personalised medicine, having ordered a genetic test recently as compared to cardiologists and general practitioners. However, across specialties, approximately 50% reported that tests that would be useful in their practice are not readily available.

"Personalised medicine is revolutionizing how cardiologists practice. Genetic testing gives us one more important advantage to determine what will help patients with hereditary diseases." – Dr. Jean-Claude Tardif – Montreal Heart Institute

The majority of physicians reported insufficient education, training and resources as a barrier to practice. Only 29% of respondents agreed that they are able to interpret the results of genetic tests. Other barriers and variations in practice, reported across specialties and provinces included a lack of practice guidelines, prohibitive costs, and variations in the availability of useful tests. The development of clinical practice guidelines and sharing of best practices and resources nationally is needed for the beneficial implementation of new practices and to ensure equitable access. Effective implementation is important as personalised medicine has the potential to improve care while reducing costs.

"We are at a unique time in medical practice. Research is identifying new molecular insights and innovative approaches to improve the patient's experience and outcomes. Genetic medicine represents one of the most significant opportunities to contribute to these goals. A Canadian plan for the incorporation of personalised medicine into care and treatment of health and illness is an imperative consistent with Canada's role in population health and well-being." – Dr. Simon Sutcliffe – Chair of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer

About Cepmed

Cepmed is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting personalized medicine through research, commercialization and education. Cepmed participates in several public-private partnerships that have funded studies in translational medicine and pharmacogenomics. Cepmed has established expert physician panels in cardiology, oncology, and a multi-disciplinary Strategic Advisory Panel. Cepmed is working with these panels to ensure that personalised medicine is effectively incorporated into routine medical practice, resulting in improved health care in Canada.

Founded by Dr. Jean Claude Tardif at the Montreal Heart Institute, Cepmed makes use of the Beaulieu-Saucier Pharmacogenomics Centre, the Montreal Heart Institute Coordinating Centre and the Montreal Heart Institute Biobank in its projects. It is a Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR) and supported by the Canadian Government and Genome Quebec as well as private partners including Merck, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Novartis.

Contact Information

  • Katherine Bonter
    Director of Advocacy and Promotion
    Centre of Excellence in Personalised Medicine
    (514) 670-7658