“Your shoe fits the size of your foot, so why is your drug dose not tailored to your own personal characteristics in the same way? To answer this question, some of the world’s leading experts in healthcare and pharmaceutical science are coming to Manchester this week.
The conference, organized by The University of Manchester and sponsored by global biosimulation and regulatory writing company, Certara, aims to bring the latest research in “precision dosing: together; this is the first time that experts in this field have got together at a dedicated event to debate and tackle barriers to introducing these advanced techniques into every day healthcare. This could be manifested in, for example, an app that will be used by doctors and a 3D printer in the local pharmacy making a tablet that exactly fits a patient’s need.
Professor Kay Marshall, Head of the Manchester Pharmacy School and a speaker at the conference, said: “Everyone is different and this means that they react to drugs in different ways. The emerging precision dosing field is all about harnessing the explosion of genomic data and various markers of bodily functions using mathematical modelling to make sure that individuals or groups get the best possible treatment.”
However, the use of this technique is currently restricted to research hospitals. Barriers such as legal issues, training and the availability of software all contribute to preventing precision dosing benefiting as many people as it could. The Health Care Summit on Model-Based Precision Dosing, which runs 19-20 May at Shrigley Hall Hotel (Cheshire, UK), will seek to address these issues. It includes speakers such as Professor Catherine Knibbe from Leiden University, Netherlands, who will talk about the difficulties of making sure that children get the right doses, based on size and other individual factors.
The former Director of the Office of Clinical Pharmacology at the US FDA, Professor Larry Lesko, will talk about the challenges regulatory agencies face regarding implementation of more personalised dose recommendations at the stage of drug approval.
The Summit comes at the same time that Dr Adam Darwich has been appointed Certara Lecturer in Precision Dosing at the Manchester Pharmacy School. Certara has endowed this lectureship, which is part of the University’s precision medicine initiative. A leader in the field, Manchester is one of six initial regional centres of excellence for The Precision Medicine Catapult, the UK’s innovation centre for precision medicine.
Dr Darwich will co-chair the Summit, which also includes speakers from the United States, France, Germany, Switzerland and Australia. Discussions will range from the application of precision dosing for patients with conditions such as HIV infection and cancer, to heart failure and transplant recovery. In all of these cases, the dosing level of drugs can be optimised based on factors such as age, sex, weight and genetics – assuming the right environment exists to enable the use of the technique.
Professor of Systems Pharmacology, Amin Rostami, convened the conference. He said: “We have the mathematical techniques to ensure that patients receive the correct drug dose for their individual needs, and to minimize any interactions that could occur with other medications they may need to take. However, the current framework in which this science works is restrictive. While these rules are in place for good reason, they are beginning to look outdated and by gathering this global panel of experts we hope to be able to make concrete recommendations for change leveraging various new technologies.”