Mathematics at the Pharmacy



Clinicians and parents will soon have a mobile application to help them better medicate children with illnesses that require monitoring. This innovation is the brainchild of Fahima Nekka, a professor in the Faculty of Pharmacy at Université de Montréal, who put mathematics and computer science to work for the benefit of pharmacology.

This research is a good illustration of the contribution of mathematical modelling and computer simulation to pharmacology.

Thanks to high-level mathematical equations, doctors will be able to provide customized medical care for their patients. Drug information sheets provide general guidelines for treatment and dosage according to a patient's age and weight. But they do not tell a doctor if she can, for example, reduce the dose at the end of the day to help a child to sleep better without affecting treatment. The tool developed by Professor Nekka and her team will help to predict this sort of therapeutic impact. It could also guide parents in dealing with certain situations, such as what to do when their child forgets to take a dose of medication.

This research is a good illustration of the contribution of mathematical modelling and computer simulation to pharmacology. The scientist has found herself at the forefront of an emerging field known as "pharmacometrics", which is rethinking well-established pharmacological concepts, bringing them up to date with the help of new technologies. The goal is to better predict drug interactions and to be able to customize dosage without affecting therapeutic benefit.

Fahima Nekka's work has attracted the attention of the pharmaceutical industry, which provided funding for her to put together Canada's first pharmacometrics team. With the support of Univalor, Université de Montréal's technology transfer organization, the mathematician is currently in discussions regarding the commercialization of her mobile application in 2015.