What is CPNDS

The Canadian Pharmacogenomics Network for Drug Safety (CPNDS) is an innovative, national program that aims to reduce serious adverse drug reactions (ADRs) in children.

CPNDS is finding drug safety solutions by seeking explanations for why one child experiences an ADR and another child who takes the same drug does not. CPNDS is exploring genetic variation as a key factor in the occurrence of serious ADRs. The presence of specific genetic variations can predict in whom serious ADRs are likely to occur before a drug is given. In this way, therapy can be modified to prevent serious ADRs from occurring.

Project Objectives

  • Reduce the occurrence of permanent disability and deaths from severe ADRs
  • Develop cost-effective predictive pharmacogenomic tests for specific ADRs

Why is it Important?

  • Many children experience ADRs
  • ADRs cause 26,500 deaths in children each year in the U.S. alone
  • ADRs are the 5th leading cause of death in North America
  • ADRs cost between $30-$130-billion per year in medical costs

ADR Surveillance

  • CPNDS employs surveillance clinicians (pharmacists, registered nurses and physicians) in children’s hospitals across Canada
  • The CPNDS clinicians collaborate with local health care professionals who assist with identifying ADRs
  • They identify, enrol and collect clinical data and biological samples (saliva or blood) from patients who’ve experienced ADRs as well as from patients who received the same medication but without an ADR
  • DNA is extracted from all samples and is genotyped at the University of British Columbia’s Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics (CMMT) at the Child & Family Research Institute in Vancouver

Active and Targeted Surveillance

  • The CPNDS actively searches for patients who have had ADRs
  • Targeted surveillance allows CPNDS to focus on significant ADRs and to respond to emerging needs

Clinical Database

Patient specific clinical data, relevant to the occurrence of ADRs, is entered into the project’s secure, password-protected database. Each report is given a unique identification number. No information that could identify a participant appears in the database. Clinical information collected includes: demographic information, medication history, drug exposure, relevant laboratory information and a complete description of the ADR.


CPNDS has developed a specific drug biotransformation panel. This panel contains single nucleotide polymorphisms (SPN) variants of genes that are known to influence the way a patient responds to a given medication or that may predispose a patient to an ADR.

The CPNDS Advantage

  • CPNDS active surveillance network is unique
  • Canada has a national health care system
  • CPNDS is embedded in the health care system
  • CPNDS is valued by clinicians, patients and hospital administrators

Financial Support for CPNDS 2009-2013

  • Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI)
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
  • Genome British Columbia
  • University of British Columbia
  • Child & Family Research Institute

Financial Support for GATC 2004-2008

  • Genome Canada
  • Genome British Columbia
  • C17 Research Network: Childhood Cancer Foundation, Candlelighters Canada
  • Canada Gene Cure Foundation
  • Canadian Society of Clinical Pharmacology
  • Canadian Paediatric Society
  • Child & Family Research Institute
  • Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of Western Ontario

Industry Partners

The University of British Columbia has also received contributions from the following companies as pooled funds matching government funds for peer-reviewed granting competitions from Genome Canada, CFI and CIHR. The funds provided are unrestricted; industrial partners have no formal role in this program of research.

  • Pfizer Canada
  • Eli Lilly Canada
  • Merck Frosst Canada
  • Janssen-Ortho
  • Illumina
  • IBM