Jeffrey A. Shaman, Chief Science Officer , Coriell Life Sciences
If you are taking a medication that is ineffective or even harmful, wouldn’t you want to know? Now you can because of technological innovations from organizations like Coriell Life Sciences.
Say you wake up with a headache. What do you take? Excedrin? Advil? Tylenol? Do you know which medication is best to relieve your pain?
“No,” might be your response. That’s because medications don’t work the same for everyone. For many medications, successful treatment is directly related to DNA. For decades, pharmacists, physicians, and researchers have tried to understand why the same medication at the same dose results in one individual getting better while another doesn’t improve or has an adverse reaction. They have been following the traditional trial-and-error process to identify which drug is safe and effective for a particular patient.
Over time, they have come to realize that while many factors contribute to the differences in the way people respond to the same medication, genetics plays a key role. Natural variation in our genetic code can cause the same drug to produce different effects for different people. Consequently, understanding how a person’s unique DNA impacts their response to medications is critical to creating a successful treatment plan.
To that end, Coriell Life Sciences (CLS), a Philadelphia, PA-based bioinformatics firm, has created a population-scale medication safety program, Corigen™, to help physicians and pharmacists more precisely prescribe treatments with a greater degree of success. Dr. Jeffrey A. Shaman, CLS’ chief science officer, says, “Our program leverages pharmacogenomics. It combines genetics with how drugs interact with each other, patient-specific information, and personalized medication risk assessments to enable healthcare providers make immediate treatment decisions without the need for risky and costly trial-and-error prescribing.” In other words, championing the power of genetic science through personalized medicine, CLS helps ensure patients are taking the medications that work for them.
What Sets Corigen apart?
The science of pharmacogenomics (PGx) can now assist in assessing how a person will respond to medications, but DNA testing alone is not sufficient. A key component of Corigen is GeneDose LIVE, CLS’ clinical decision support tool, which utilizes patient-specific information such as medication regimen, disease indications, and lifestyle factors to identify the right balance between risk and therapeutic success for each patient. The tool provides a prioritized understanding of a patient’s risks by medication and the ability to select more appropriate, alternative drugs. Simply put, Corigen eliminates the standard trial-and-error guesswork and enables physicians to make appropriate prescribing decisions in accordance with individual genetics in addition to many other personal variables. This part, going beyond DNA/genetics, is a significant component of what sets Corigen/GeneDose LIVE apart.
How Does Corigen Work?
“Beginning with an ROI analysis, our turnkey Medication Safety Program delivers measurable results for patients, payer organizations, employers, health systems, and insurers,” remarks Dr. Shaman.
A patient is initially invited to enroll into the Corigen program through their employer or insurance provider. A self-administered saliva collection kit is first shipped to their home. Once the sample is collected, the patient returns it in the postage-paid package, which goes to a trusted laboratory for genetic interpretation. A comprehensive report is generated based on the findings. The report includes information on prescription and over-the-counter medications and supplements used by the patient, their health conditions, age, lifestyle, and more. The result is sent to a team of specialized pharmacists, who utilize GeneDose LIVE to review the report, analyze it, and deliver a clear, clinical Medication Action Plan (MAP) that provides a complete, personalized recommendation of the medications that will work best for the individual. The process also allows for real-time medication regimen modelling before the pharmacist recommends an alternative medication. The easy-to-understand MAP is communicated directly to the patient’s prescribing physician.
A Trusted Advisor
Championing the power of genetic science through personalized medicine, CLS helps ensure patients are taking the medications that work for them
The innovative and streamlined approach Coriell Life Sciences takes to address the needs of its clients has positioned the firm as a trusted advisor to its partners and the gold standard for knowledge and understanding in pharmacogenomics and the genetic diagnostic space.
An example that brings to the fore the tangible benefits offered by CLS’ offerings—including greater patient satisfaction, improved overall health, and increased quality of life—focuses on Sally, a young female patient who suffers from chronic anxiety. Sally had visited multiple psychiatrists and endured several rounds of the standard “trial-and-error” medication prescribing process, which she described as, “consuming my life.” Her experience with changing medications and going through the same tiring procedure over and over again had placed her on edge.
It was around this time that Sally’s employer offered her the opportunity to participate in the Corigen program. After proceeding with the genetic test and analyzing the results, a CLS-registered pharmacist reviewed a detailed report with Sally of the necessary changes to her medications. “The pharmacist also took the time to educate her on other conditions that could actually be contributing to her anxiety, talked about the different approaches and perspectives, discussed the genetic factors that lead to some of her medications to not being effective, and a provided a faster, more direct way for a successful medication regimen,” reveals Dr. Shaman. Sally reported that she was grateful for the pharmacist’s intervention and that the Corigen program gave her hope to lead a better life. She was also amazed that a one-time saliva test was all it took to help her out.
Leading a Healthier World
As a part of its plan for the future, the firm continues to focus on leading collaborative efforts to make pharmacogenomics a standard of care, while expanding its services globally. In the precision medicine space, the company also provides personalized support for mental health and perioperative care, and diagnostic and reporting tools for infectious diseases and women’s health. “Our goal is to ensure that everyone has access to the benefits of these innovative healthcare solutions—made possible by precision medicine and pharmacogenomics-empowered comprehensive medication management. We are committed to impacting lives for the better,” concludes Dr. Shaman.