The University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy, ranked the 2nd best pharmacy program by U.S. News & World Report, recently held its biennial pharmacogenomics conference. The conference brought together some of the most well-regarded thought leaders in pharmacogenomics (PGx) for a discussion focused on how to implement PGx into clinical practice. Attendees included physicians, pharmacists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, genetic counselors, clinical scientists, and students.

Pamala Jacobson, PharmD, professor and director of the Institute of Personalized Medicine at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy, said this year’s conference built upon the learnings from the 2016 conference which focused on pharmacogenomics discovery and research. “There is still a lot of discovery going on, but practitioners now seem to be really focused on implementation. We wanted this year’s speakers to provide real examples of how they have successfully implemented PGx testing,” Dr. Jacobson said.

A look at conference participants’ pharmacogenomic results

OneOme participated in the conference as a sponsor and offered the first 250 conference registrants a complimentary RightMed test to be used for educational purposes.* The participants’ results were de-identified and reviewed at a population-level so attendees could see how pharmacogenomic results apply to them on the most personal level — with themselves — and how their own results varied from those sitting around them.

“It was great having OneOme involved in the conference,” said Dr. Jacobson. “The RightMed test helped make PGx testing more relevant to participants because they got to see their own results and really think about the impact on them.”

Below are some of the population-level findings that were presented at the conference by Dr. Jacobson and Jacob Brown, PharmD, assistant professor at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy in Duluth:

  • When looking at just 12 of the 27 genes tested by the RightMed test (those with CPIC guidelines), participants had an average of 4.84 actionable genetic variants and everyone had at least one actionable genetic variant.

  • Mirroring what research has found, participants’ results varied greatly between those of different ethnicities. For example, nearly 77% of the Asian population tested at the conference had a genetic variant that made them a CYP2C19 intermediate or poor metabolizer, compared to less than 24% for white or Caucasians. CYP2C19 impacts the metabolism of a variety of drugs, including certain proton pump inhibitors and antidepressants. It is also often considered when prescribing clopidogrel, a commonly used anti-platelet medication. According to CPIC’s guideline for clopidogrel and CYP2C19, CPIC recommends choosing an alternative antiplatelet therapy for anyone who is an intermediate or poor metabolizer because these individuals will not be able to convert clopidogrel into its active form. The participants’ RightMed test results suggest that an alternative medication would be recommended for the majority of the Asian population at the conference.

  • Nearly 31% of the Asian population tested positive for HLA-B *58:01, which indicates an increased risk for the severe skin reaction Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS)/toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) when taking allopurinol. (Read how adding two new HLA genes to the RightMed may help prevent severe skin reactions like SJS/TEN.)

To hear all of the findings that were presented at the conference, watch the recorded session. Access the other recorded sessions on the conference's website.

Pharmacogenomics as a team effort

Dr. Jacobson believes that partnerships like the one between the University of Minnesota and OneOme will play a key role in advancing the field of pharmacogenomics. “Partnerships are really important. Implementation isn’t just about us — it’s about everyone in the field and in the business. We need to be working toward one, common goal.”

At the clinical level, Dr. Jacobson sees partnerships led by pharmacists as key to successfully implementing pharmacogenomic testing at organizations. “Pharmacists are going to need to lead education and implementation at their organizations, but they also need to partner with others. Genetic counselors play a key role because they have superb education on the genetics side. You also need physician champions who are willing to try testing on their patients and you need people who understand the technology and laboratory side of things.”

Like Dr. Jacobson, OneOme also sees pharmacogenomics as a team effort. On our end, we are committed to educating a variety of clinician and provider types by offering clinical consultations with our pharmacogenomic experts to those who order the RightMed test. We also work closely with the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy to educate the next generation of pharmacists through our pharmacy internship program. We believe the more we all work together as a team, the faster pharmacogenomic testing will be adopted—bringing the benefits of pharmacogenomic testing to more patients than ever before.

Dr. Jacobson and her team are already looking ahead to the future. “The plan is for this to be a recurring conference. We will continue to explore how we best provide the kind of information people want.”

OneOme looks forward to seeing where the next two years will take us and how progress made in the field of pharmacogenomics will be reflected in the 2020 conference line-up.

Learn more about the RightMed test

If you’re interested in learning more about the RightMed test and how it can be implemented at your organization, get in touch using our contact form. You can also get started by downloading our provider toolkit below.

*The RightMed test was offered for educational-use only. Results were de-identified.

Katie Mittelstadt
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