How Pharmacy Researchers Are Making Medicine More Precise
If you receive the wrong dose of medicine, your results could range from not getting better to feeling worse or even dying. UCSF School of Pharmacy researchers are determined to improve your care by transforming the way drug dosing is determined.
The stakes are particularly high for babies, according to Janel Boyle, PharmD, PhD, associate professor in the UCSF School of Pharmacy who cares for patients in the pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinic. “The goal for me isn’t just that patients survive,” she says, “but also making sure they get the right dose for a child so they don’t pay a lifelong consequence.”
The goal for me isn’t just that patients survive, but also making sure they get the right dose for a child so they don’t pay a lifelong consequence.”
Boyle has developed computer models that calculate the dosage for individual patients, harnessing the power of pediatric cancer drugs while limiting their toxic effects. And she’s not alone. Researchers throughout the UCSF School of Pharmacy are building computer models for dosing based on real-world patient evidence. Factors far beyond age and weight – such as your genetics, gender, lifestyle, diet, and even the supplements you take – can affect which drug you need, along with how much and how often you may need it. Although labor- and time-intensive, their work could one day result in personalized prescriptions calculated by software programs that account for each patient’s individual characteristics.
For her young cancer patients, Boyle predicts that more precise dosing will improve not only their care but also their lifelong outcomes. “They might be able to forget that they ever had leukemia,” she says.
Read the complete story in UCSF Magazine.