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August 26th, 2016

Three Key Takeaways from Pharmacogenomics Discussion in San Diego

By Sharon Rosen

Article by Susan Buckles, Public Affairs

Christopher Grilli, Pharm.D. and Adrijana Kekic, Pharm.D., of the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine in Arizona shared their expertise in pharmacogenomics (PGx) at the Precision Medicine Leaders Summit 2016 earlier this month. They led a robust roundtable discussion at the summit in San Diego on PGx among physicians and biomedical industry professionals. PGx, the study of how your genes impact how your body reacts to medication, can help identify drugs that are best for you.

Roundtable participants had many questions like:

  • What is the cost?
  • Who pays for testing?
  • If not covered by insurance, what might patients consider to be too expensive?
  • What evidence supports it?
  • How will it be rolled out?
  • How do we get PGx into the hands of clinicians and ultimately to the patient’s bedside?

Participants left with three key takeaways:

1: PGx is one of many tools

PGx testing can help your medical provider understand when to look for a genetically-based reason for harmful side effects to drugs. It is one of many tools that can help identify medications that are safer and work better for a patient.

Dr. Adrijana Kekic

Dr. Adrijana Kekic

“Pharmacogenomics, PGx, helps us determine how individual genetic variants may predict a drug response. The field of PGx is expanding as we continue to identify biomarkers with clinical utility. This is exemplified in the current list of pharmaco-genes we test for. They include not only pharmacokinetic enzymes (CYP family), but also pharmacodynamics (drug targets) and common metabolic pathway enzymes (transporters). All are important in helping us determine drug safety and efficacy,” said Dr. Kekic.

2: Need for consistent PGx standards

Dr. Grilli explained an important step to implementing PGx is integrating test results into the electronic medical record. To date, 18 drug-gene alert support rules have been issued to help providers avoid prescribing a drug that research has shown will not work or that may cause serious drug reactions.  These alerts have been triggered thousands of times, helping ensure patients receive the right drug at the right time. In the future, these alerts will expand to include drug-gene-gene-gene and so forth.

Dr. Christopher Grilli

Dr. Christopher Grilli

“For optimal results, those alerts should be prominently displayed in a patient’s electronic medical record (EMR) proactively. Once in the record, it can help alert physicians to choose the right drug at the right dose for the right patient,” said Dr. Grilli. “Standardization is key to getting PGx testing into the EMR. We’re still working on a standard process.”

3: Keep the conversation going about PGx

Both Drs. Grilli and Kekic explained how pharmacists are uniquely positioned to lead the conversation about PGx with patients. Pharmacogenomics testing can benefit a patient from “cradle to grave,” Dr. Grilli explained.

PGx is part of precision medicine, in which health care is shaped to meet a patient’s unique genomic makeup. The goal is to predict how a drug will interact with a patient’s unique biochemistry. Although pharmacogenomics is still evolving, we are ready to start integrating it into patient care.

Attend the conference to learn more

Learn more about the practical application of PGx and many other topics in precision medicine speak at the upcoming #CIMCon2016 conference.

For a complete schedule and list of speakers, visit the conference website.  You may also learn more about the conference on the video blog series, “Story by Story.”   Follow the latest news related to the conference on the Center for Individualized Medicine blogFacebook, LinkedIn  or Twitter at @MayoClinicCIM and use the hashtag#CIMCon16 .

The Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine is hosting the conference with support from the Satter Foundation.

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Tags: #CIMCon16, #Dr. Adrijana Kekic, #Dr. Christopher Grilli, #drug-gene reactions, center for individualized medicine, mayo clinic, PGx, pharmacogenomics, Precision Leaders Medicine Summit 2016, Uncategorized

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