TRANSPERS Awarded 5-Year NIH Grant to Build Evidence Base for Policies on Emerging Genomic Tests

Payer coverage and economic value are critical factors to appropriately, efficiently, and equitably implement genomic medicine into clinical care and health policies. TRANSPERS has been awarded a 5-year, ~$5M grant from the National Human Genomic Research Institute (NHGRI/NIH) to examine coverage and value for two types of emerging genomic tests:

(1) Cell-free DNA tests such as “liquid biopsy” tests for cancer screening that could detect cancer early when it can be cured.

(2) Tests based on polygenic risk scores that synthesize vast amounts of data to better personalize preventive measures.

With the potential for paradigm-shifting benefits to patients, these tests also raise new questions for payers and policymakers regarding which ones to pay for and whether these tests provide value to patients and the healthcare system. Using mixed methods, TRANSPERS will analyze which tests payers cover and why; the economic value of testing; and what evidence is needed to inform clinical and policy decision-making.

A unique aspect of this study is that findings will be integrated to address the implications for disparities in access to care. Drawing on decades of research and the expertise of a multidisciplinary team, investigators will also seek the perspectives of a wide range of stakeholder groups within a rapidly changing health care system. Ultimately, the objective is to help patients obtain appropriate access to testing that will most benefit their health.

Dr. Kathryn A. Phillips, PhD, Professor of Health Economics and Health Services and Founding Director, TRANSPERS, Department of Clinical Pharmacy, UCSF will lead the study. Core collaborators include Julia Trosman, PhD, Jeroen Jansen, PhD, and Michael Douglas, MS. Other collaborators and scientific board members are Jalayne Arias, JD, Patricia Deverka, MD Stacy Gray, MD, Muin Khoury, MD/PhD, Barbara Koenig, PhD, Allison Kurian, MD, Grace Lin, MD, Tara Maddala, PhD, Deborah Marshall, PhD, Peter Neumann, ScD, Maren Scheuner, MD, Christine Weldon, MBA, and Elad Ziv, MD.