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Precision Medicine Partnership Aims to Curb Adverse Drug Events

The University of Arizona and Banner Health are aiming to prevent adverse drug reactions with precision medicine and clinical decision support.

Precision medicine partnership aims to curb adverse drug events

Source: Thinkstock

By Jessica Kent

- The University of Arizona (UA) College of Medicine - Phoenix and Banner Health have partnered to use precision medicine and clinical decision support to prevent adverse reactions to medications.

The Flinn Foundation awarded a $1.5 million grant to UA College of Medicine’s Division of Clinical Data Analytics and Decision Support (CDADS). Banner Health will match the grant with in-kind staff salaries and resources.

“The Flinn Foundation grant is the result of several years of planning by the UA College of Medicine - Phoenix to incorporate precision medicine into the curriculum and into faculty research programs,” said Raymond Woosley, MD, PhD, co-director of the Division of Clinical Data Analytics and Decision Support.

The partnering organizations will use pharmacogenomics to anticipate an individual’s response to specific drugs. Pharmacogenomics combines pharmacology, the study of drugs, and genomics, the study of genes, to enable physicians to choose effective, safe medications that are tailored to a patient’s genetic makeup.

“The integration of these two fields has the potential to save lives by mitigating risks commonly associated with medications and devices,” said UA President Robert C. Robbins, MD.

“This is the perfect example of how precision medicine is the future of healthcare and why the University of Arizona is focused on remaining at the forefront of this important work. The program is a testament to the great work being done by our passionate clinicians and researchers.”

The project will begin by targeting four groups of patients with risk prediction and clinical decision tools. The first group will include those who are susceptible to drug-induced LQT Syndrome, which causes medications to slow the relaxation phase of the heartbeat and predispose them to heart rhythm disorders.

The second group will consist of patients who are susceptible to Heparin-induced Thrombocytopenia, a condition that causes adverse reactions to the anticoagulant heparin and can cause life-threatening blood clots.

The project will also target patients receiving mechanical respiratory therapy, and patients who inherit high risk genetic variations that can affect the metabolic breakdown of drugs.

“These projects show the importance of the collaboration between College of Medicine - Phoenix faculty members and Banner Health,” Woosley said.

“Our faculty and Banner Health physicians will be able to deliver precision medicine because of this investment by the Flinn Foundation that unites modern information technology and genomics. This enables our faculty members to teach UA students to deliver the right medicine, at the right time, for the right patient.”

Established in 2016, CDADS aims to provide timely, meaningful data analytics and clinical decision support systems for research and care innovation at UA College of Medicine and Banner Health.

CDADS has worked with Banner Health to capture and analyze data from Banner’s electronic health records (EHRs). With this knowledge, clinical scientists from Banner Health and the College can create clinical decision support advisories that inform providers as they make care decisions.

“Since its beginning, the overall support for the collaboration has included a significant commitment from Banner Health to provide staff to work with UA faculty members and to give the team access to the clinical data required for their work,” said Larry Goldberg, president of Banner - University Medicine.

“Banner Health is eager to see this program continue to grow, and we are especially pleased that this application will focus on the clinical implementation of pharmacogenetics testing and its integration into clinical decision support systems.”

With this new project, researchers expect to develop genomics and clinical decision support capabilities that can be used in other institutions.

“Establishing this program in the Banner Health system is only the beginning of applying what researchers at Banner Health have created with their colleagues at the UA College of Medicine - Phoenix,” said Tammy McLeod, president and CEO of the Flinn Foundation.

“It will serve as a replicable model for health systems across Arizona and beyond, toward a day when all patients will have access to clinical decision support systems and pharmacogenetics testing.”

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