Focus on Precision: Genetics Role in Drug Efficacy - Eskenazi Health

Last year, Eskenazi Health announced a unique partnership between the Indiana Institute for Personalized Medicine, Indiana University (IU) School of Medicine and the Regenstrief Institute to test the ability of pharmacogenomic testing to improve patient outcomes and reduce the cost of care. It was believed to be the first study of its kind to examine both the economic and clinical value of implementing personalized medicine. Pharmacogenomics tests how genetics impacts the responsiveness and efficacy of certain drugs.

In the first year of the study, 867 patients have been randomly entered into either the control or study arms of the trial. Subjects selected for the study arm must agree to join the study and then provide either a blood or saliva sample. The Indiana University pharmacogenomics laboratory then analyzes these samples, with the results returned to the physician. Pharmacogenomic consult experts and electronic clinical decision support assist in interpretation for individual patients.

The study at Eskenazi Health’s main campus is expected to enroll a total of 6,000 patients, with 2,000 patients assigned to a pharmacogenetic testing arm and 4,000 to a control arm who will be followed, but not tested.

Patients are followed for one year. Eskenazi Health patients from both outpatient and inpatient areas of the health system as well as emergency department patients may be asked to participate if they are prescribed one of the medications identified as part of the study. Patients selected for the testing arm will receive a blood draw that will evaluate the most common type of genetic variations that exist within 16 specific genes.

Armed with the new information, it is anticipated that physicians will be able to make better informed decisions on medication selection and dosing based on the patient’s individual genetic profile, which determines how his or her body utilizes medications.

The study, known as INGenious (Indiana Genomics Implementation: An Opportunity for the Under Served), is supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and is one of three studies that have been included in a pilot program that totals more than $11 million in grant funding. Known as the Implementing Genomics in Practice (IGNITE) program, the three studies are administered by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of NIH.