King Fahd Medical Research Center

Genetic Pharmacology & Drug Design and Measurement Unit

About the unit:

Drug Monitoring Unit (DMU) was established on November 1982 at King Fahd Medical Research Centre, Faculty of Medicine & Allied Sciences as a part of King Abdulaziz University Hospital, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, KSA. It is an outcome of a 3 years research project (AR-4-021) entitled “Design and Monitoring of Drug Plasma Levels for Optimal Therapeutic Response” headed Prof. Samira I. Islam, funded by the King Abdulaziz City for Science & Technology (KACST). The DMU was the first in KSA and probably in the Region to provide therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) service both to the hospitals as well as to the prescribing doctors & patients. Since its inception DMU has recognized itself as pioneering research unit in the Kingdom, involving clinicians/ physicians/ scientists in research which enabled effective teams' communication & increase research orientations amongst the biggest sector of health team. DMU's mission is Drug Safety, hence its research focused mainly on addressing the problems raised from the use of commonly prescribed drugs thereby adopting individualized medicine concepts. DMU has been associated with optimizing therapeutic doses of an array of drugs and assessing their toxicity, thus dictating pharmacovigilance guidelines in Saudi Arabia. DMU also had outlined the basic Pharmacokinetic profile for drugs having narrow therapeutic index, drugs exhibiting individual variation and drugs whose metabolic fate is genetically controlled One of the landmark achievements of DMU is the phenotyping of Saudi population defining polymorphism effecting metabolism of certain drugs and assessing the role of cyclosporins in overcoming immune rejections of organ transplant. More than 30 senior clinicians & scientists also about 50 university graduates & pre-PhD degree participated in DMU research at different intervals & shared in publishing more than 30 articles in refereed journals, more than 60 presentations in specialized international conference & meetings and about 30 public lectures given for the rational use of drugs, pharmacovigilance awareness & educating society on the use, abuse & misuse of drugs.

  • Main Objectives:

  • To reach, produce, apply & promote knowledge about drug action & toxicity on individual patients & the Saudi population and to propagate that knowledge for the social, cultural, economic, scientific & technological development of the Saudi society & humanity. Interdisciplinary research are encouraged by integrating teaching, research & social services in order to: -

    • Optimize the therapeutic dose of drugs in Saudi Population by correlating the dose administered with achieved serum concentration and the clinical response.
    • Establish a well defined protocol for the therapeutic and adverse effects of drugs, relevant to Saudi population.
    • Individualize therapeutic doses for maximum therapeutic response and minimum toxicity.
    • Define polymorphism observed in the metabolism of certain drugs.
    • Development of methods for screening of drugs and its metabolites in biological fluids like blood, saliva urine etc… in par with modern technology.
    • Identification of biomarkers for drug toxicity by realizing animal models.
    • Promoting the development of early diagnostic tools for drug toxicity.
  • Unit Location:
  • KFMRC- First Floor - B area.
Unit's Performance:
  • Analytical facilities available in DMU includes:
    • HPLC for measurement of parent drugs and their metabolites.
    • Radioimmunoassay (RIA) for determination of Digoxin level.
    • FPIA unit including ABBOT TDx system.
    • for monitoring drugs and its endogenous substances.

  • Analytical methods were compared for precision, accuracy, reproducibility to select optimal methodologies - Inter & intra quality control programs were applied.
  • Various factors (e.g., temperature, plasma separation time, anticoagulant, type of tubes, additives) affecting recovery and accuracy were identified.
  • DMU recruits a number of senior experienced personals for their proficiency and guidance in the development and execution of projects, which includes a versatile team of Professors and Associate Professors.
  • Colorimetric techniques for salicylate and sulfanomide Analytical facilities available in DMU includes:
    • HPLC for measurement of parent drugs and their metabolites.
    • Radioimmunoassay (RIA)- for determination of Digoxin level.
    • FPIA unit including ABBOT TDx system – for monitoring drugs and its endogenous substances.
    • Colorimetric techniques for salicylate and sulfanomide.
  • Clinical Application of TDM :
    • Dosage regimen adjustment.
    • The unit provided a daily analysis of patients’ samples for several drugs.
    • The results, interpretation and application of clinical PK provide guidelines for doctors to adjust dosage on an individual basis.
    • Support to Drug Safety Research.
    • Defined the therapeutic range of several drugs of low margin of safety e.g. Theophylline, Digoxin, Cyclosporine etc. in Saudi patients to ensure maximum efficacy & minimal toxicity.
    • Working ground for high quality researches on drug safety use and management of diseases such as asthma, renal failure, epilepsy etc.
    • Estimation of pharmacokinetic (PK) parameters in Saudi patients.
    • PK parameters for number of drugs were evaluated in Saudi patients.
    • These allowed the establishment of dosage guidelines for optimization of pharmacotherapy in specific population.
  • DMU collaborates with researchers across the globe thus promoting transfer of resource and technology, also with medical doctors from the Ministry of Health, KAU & others for clinical expertise integration.
  • The DMU team comprises of fresh graduates in the capacity of research assistants, technicians to handle the equipments and secretary to manage clerical matters and for accumulation of data to be analyzed statistically.

Training Courses and Services Provided From The Unit:
Training Courses:
  • DMU from time to time involved itself in imparting educational training reaching out to researchers, doctors, nurses, students, etc.

  • Involved in program of continued medical education conducted by the MOH.

  • Comprehensive training courses orienting university graduates from scientific disciplines on "How to conduct research" are provided. This involve setting up of detailed protocol, applying the practical use of drugs on animals, observing & recording the effect, result and concluding of the research on a presentation.

  • Workshops have been conducted on the importance of animal models in drug research and training was imparted on drug formulation, administration, sampling, biochemical and statistical analysis.

  • DMU has been conducting evening courses on combating addiction for awareness of drug abuse, directed to social workers, youth welfare supervisors & airport inspectors in order to recognize the abuse of drugs & the signs & symptoms that could be observed on drug abusers.

  • Training courses for high school graduates in order to appreciate research & understand its concepts.

  • On job training courses in the form of apprenticeship to newly Science graduates in order to become laboratory technicians and/or obtain post graduate degrees from King Abdulaziz University or from abroad.

  • Services :

    • Personalize drug dose- by monitoring the drug blood level in the patients' blood, which will guide the prescribing doctor to adjust the drug dose according to the individual's need.

    • Detailed pharmacokinetic parameters of individual patients may be determined and provided to the clinicians. .

    • Provide guideline to the treating physician for dosage management.

    • DMU has been associated with several Saudi welfare societies such us the Saudi Thalasemia Friends Society, Women Welfare Society, Handicapped Society, etc.

The Future Aspirations Of The Unit:
  • DMU is setting up to expand its study on the accidental and unintentional drug toxicity due to pollutants present in the environment.

  • It is seeking to venture into internationally collaborated projects

  • Collaboration with international scientific centres would involve them in joint research as well as supervision of young scientists under joint supervision program for graduate degrees enabling transfer of technology.

  • DMU is seeking to associate with Saudi Arabia Food & Drug Administration (SAFDA) and is committed to become reliable analytical centre of excellence to provide:

    • Safety & pharmacovigilance awareness to help in benefit & risk management

    • Clinical trials & post marketing information/servicing

    • Bioavailability testing for drugs

  • Another prospective objective of DMU is to provide in house training courses that would provide a highly flexible, efficient & cost effective training program as required by the market in order to get maximum return to the market requirement & investment. The courses are to be available to all stakeholders both public & private institution

The Devices & Available Capabilities of the Unit:
HPLC Waters millipore
AUTOCLAVE Midas 32 Prior Clave
HOT PLATE STIRRER Corning , Lab Tech Dachan
MICROSCOPES Leitz x3,Leica x1, Carl Zeiss Jena
PCR Perkin 2400
PH METER WTW pH 422 x2
REFRIGERATOR Kelvin x2 , White Westing House
ULTRA SONIC CLEANER Branson Fischer scientifica
VACCUM PUMP Multipore water
WATER BATHS Precision 183 X2
COMPUTER SYSTEMS (with internet connectivity)
Unit Members :
  • Prof. Samira Islam
    Establishing Professor Tel. 06401077(25243-25028)

  • Dr. Samir Al Harthi
    Associate Professor Mob. 0536010075

  • Dr. Huda Al Kreathy
    Associate Professor

  • Ms. Sara Ibrahim
    Research Assistant

  • Mrs. Rula Abdulghani
    Laboratory Technician Ext. 25243-25028

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Last Update 1/27/2014 12:43:49 PM