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UCSF launches first pharmacogenomics testing service in California
The UCSF Clinical Pharmacogenomics Program promises to bridge the collection of patients’ genomic data at UCSF Health with actionable and effective care decisions.
By Levi Gadye / Tue May 2, 2023
Starting on May 9, the health care delivered to patients at UCSF Health will be systematically informed by patient genomic data, ensuring that prescribed therapies are tailored to individuals’ unique biology.
The UCSF Clinical Pharmacogenomics Program (CPP) bridges pharmacogenomics—the science of how individuals’ genetic makeup influences the safety and efficacy of certain types of drug therapies—with clinical decision-making. By covering 15 genes and 56 drug therapies, the program will enable clinicians to consider pharmacogenomics for many of their patient cases, clearing the way for speedier, more effective, and more comfortable treatment journeys and outcomes.
“It is high time for the science of pharmacogenomics to benefit patients receiving care at UCSF,” said Bani Tamraz, PharmD, PhD, lead for the program and faculty member in the School of Pharmacy’s Department of Clinical Pharmacy.
The program relies on two automated clinical decision-support (CDS) systems built into UCSF Health’s electronic health records system. These CDS systems will automatically inform clinicians of the benefits of genetic testing for specific patients, urging them to order genetic testing or to shape a patient’s drug regimen around insights from existing genetic data.
Only a handful of health care entities worldwide take such a pre-emptive approach to genetic screening in patient care, and UCSF’s is among the most comprehensive to date on the basis of genes and drugs that are covered.
The program has been in development since September 2021, when UCSF Health gathered a multidisciplinary team of medical experts, pharmacists, and health records specialists to explore a more holistic integration of pharmacogenomics into clinical practice.
In its first year, the Clinical Pharmacogenomics Program will be monitored to gauge its use—whether clinicians act on its recommendations, whether patient outcomes improve, and ultimately whether expansion is worth further investment.
Such further investment seems likely based on the formidable volume of pharmacogenomic findings that have the potential to improve health care, according to Lisa Kroon, PharmD, who is program co-lead, chair of the Department of Clinical Pharmacy, and assistant chief pharmacy officer for research, education, and clinical services at UCSF Health.
“This first chapter of applying pharmacogenomics widely to UCSF patient care will set the stage for making pharmacogenomics a pillar of modern health care,” said Kroon. “The pioneers of pharmacogenomics have envisioned this day for decades, and we are proud to take the baton across the finish line for them by translating their science into tangible benefits for patients.”
About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy aims to solve the most pressing health care problems and strives to ensure that each patient receives the safest, most effective treatments. Our discoveries seed the development of novel therapies, and our researchers consistently lead the nation in NIH funding. The School’s doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree program, with its unique emphasis on scientific thinking, prepares students to be critical thinkers and leaders in their field.