PGx Conference Brings Together National Experts in Pharmacogenomics

Conference Brings Together National Experts in Pharmacogenomics

Pamela JacobsonMore than 300 people attended the Precision Medicine Conference “Genomic Testing
to Individualize Drug Therapy” on June 22. The conference brought together some of the most well-regarded thought leaders in pharmacogenomics (PGx), and covered many topics, including cancer somatic mutations and selection of targeted therapies; emerging PGx areas such as analgesics and how to apply PGx in minority populations; clinical PGx guidelines; use of PGx in children; implementation of PGx in practice settings; insurance reimbursement; and evidence for cost effectiveness and improved quality of care.

Professor Pamala Jacobson, director of the college’s Institute of Personalized Medicine, 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,” said Jacobson. “We wanted this year’s speakers to provide real examples of how they have successfully implemented PGx testing.”

OneOme, a company co-founded by Mayo Clinic, 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. 

Jacobson believes that partnerships like the one between the University and OneOme will play a key role in advancing the field of pharmacogenomics.

“Partnerships are really important,” Jacobson said. “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, 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,” she said. “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.” 

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.”

To view presentations from the PGx conference, visit the college’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/PharmacyUMN
Excerpted from a story written by Katie Mittelstadt — see full story