TRANSPERS Center leaders and collaborators present nationally and internationally

Dear Colleagues,

National interest in personalized medicine remains strong. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 specifically earmarked additional funding for the National Institutes of Health to dedicate to the field. The Center for Translational and Policy Research on Personalized Medicine (TRANSPERS Center) is proud to have now laid its foundation while continuing to grow and develop new collaborations. The TRANSPERS Center has recently added new Center members, applied for additional funding, and completed several studies. Members of the TRANSPERS Center have also shared our research at several national and international conferences and the Center is committed to remaining at the cutting edge of this field.

As we begin our second year, continue to look for upcoming news about our Pilot Project Request for Applications, additional Center hires, new Center research findings, and our 2010 Center Symposium and Roundtable Meetings!

Thank you for your support,

Kathryn Phillips signature

Kathryn Phillips, PhD

TRANSPERS Center Director

In this issue

TRANSPERS Center news

TRANSPERS Center leaders and collaborators present nationally and internationally:

  • Sara Knight presented at the National Meeting of the Veterans Administration Health Services Research and Development.
  • Kathryn Phillips met with the Canadian Consulate in February.
  • Ninez Ponce participated in the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Future Directions for the National Healthcare Quality and Disparities.
  • Stephanie Van Bebber participated in the Canadian Health Services Research Chair Workshops at the University of Toronto, giving the keynote presentation “Research for Policy Decision-Making, Fostering linkage and exchange activities with policy decision-makers.”
  • Deborah Marshall and Ilia Ferrusi presented at the annual Canadian Association for Health Services and Policy Research Conference.
  • Elena Elkin will attend a National Cancer Institute workshop to inform the research agenda on cancer pharmacogenomics and translational medicine.
  • Kathryn Phillips, Deborah Marshall, and F. Reed Johnson will be presenting at the 7th World Congress on Health Economics in Beijing.

New TRANSPERS Center advisors

  • Dr. Jamie Robinson is a distinguished professor of Health Economics at the University of California, Berkeley and is well-known for his research on coverage and reimbursement policies. Dr. Robinson also serves as Director of the new UC-Berkeley Center for Health Technology.
  • Dr. Douglas Crawford is the Associate Executive Director of the California Institute for Quantitative Biomedical Research (QB3 Institute), which focuses on accelerating the transfer of biomedical innovation from academic to commercial research.
  • Dr. Alan Venook is a nationally renowned expert in colorectal and liver cancers at the UCSF Medical Center. Dr. Venook leads the Gastrointestinal Oncology clinical program at UCSF and directs the UCSF Cancer Center Clinical Research Office at the Mount Zion campus.

Center continues and expands focus on reimbursement issues

Building on four years of funding by the Blue Shield Foundation of California, UCSF researchers with Executive Frameworks Ltd. have developed a Reimbursement and Policy Track for the TRANSPERS Center. We have added new members to our Reimbursement and Policy Advisory Board and will hold our first WebEx Roundtable in October with executives from top national and leading regional health plans and academic thought leaders in personalized medicine and health policy.

Center researchers forge new collaborations

UCSF and University of Calgary Center members have developed collaborations with groups at The Johns Hopkins University and Brown University to apply comparative effectiveness research to genomic technologies.

Bradley awarded CDC Director’s Innovation Award

TRANSPERS congratulates Center Board Member Linda Bradley.

Phillips Delivers Grollman Lecture

Center Director Kathryn Phillips delivered the annual Grollman Lecture at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy.

TRANSPERS Center research

  • HER2 Testing for Herceptin: A systematic review of economic evaluations found that few analyses have considered the impact of testing approaches on the cost-effectiveness of HER2 therapy. Ferrusi IL, Marshall DA, Leighl NB, Phillips KA. Personalized Medicine 2009; 6(2):193-215.
  • VA medical records showed little documentation that hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC) or other familial colon cancer had been considered consistently in patient care. Family history taking, genetic counseling, and genetic/molecular analysis are just some of the services recommended by clinical guidelines to determine the possibility of HPNCC. Knight SJ, Green GL, Bertenthal D, Chren MM, Phillips KA. Abstract presented at the 2009 VA Health Services Research and Development annual meeting in Baltimore, Maryland.
  • Gaps in knowledge may impede the widespread use of pharmacogenomic tests in clinical settings. As demonstrated through the example of the UGT1A1 pharmacogenomic test, solutions to these challenges include a comprehensive survey of the human genome, an evaluation of the clinical utility of pharmacogenomic testing, rapid reporting systems, and increased clinician knowledge. Ikediobi ON, Shin J, Nussbaum R, Phillips KA, and members of the TRANSPERS Center (Walsh J, Ladabaum U, Marshall D). Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics 2009; 86(1):28-31.
  • Given the increasing use of targeted therapies, it is critical to build an evidence base that supports informed decision-making on emerging testing technologies in clinical practice. However, a review of HER2 testing in actual clinical practice found important variations in testing practices and key gaps in knowledge about who receives testing, how testing is conducted, and how test results are used. Phillips KA, Marshall DA, Haas JS, Elkin E, Liang SY, Hassett MJ, Ferrusi I, Brock JE, Van Bebber SL. Clinical Practice Patterns and Cost-Effectiveness of HER2 Testing Strategies in Breast Cancer Patients. Cancer. 2009 Nov 15; 115(22): 5166–5174. PMID: 19753618.
  • A pilot marketing campaign for BRCA1/2 testing demonstrated that an interest in knowing genetic risk, as well as one’s knowledge and beliefs about the test, may be influenced by socioeconomic status. Bowen D, Harris J, Jorgensen C, Myers M, Edwards K. Socioeconomic influences on the effects of a genetic testing direct-to-consumer marketing campaign. Public Health Genomics. 2010;13(3):131-42. doi: 10.1159/000231722. Epub 2009 Jul 28. PMID: 19641293.

TRANSPERS Center expands training initiatives

The TRANSPERS Center recently expanded its training capacity for students and new and junior investigators to the field of personalized and translational medicine. UCSF professor and physician Dr. Mary Beattie serves as Director of Training, and Dr. Grace Wang from the University of Washington Public Health Genetics Program will be our first postdoctoral Center Fellow.

TRANSPERS Center set to release RFA for pilot studies at UCSF

In September, the TRANSPERS Center will release its Request for Applications (RFA) for pilot studies. Funding will be available for UCSF investigators pursuing projects related to the aims and research interests of the Center. Funding for non-UCSF investigators is being considered for the future. For more information, or to receive the official RFA upon its release, please email us.

Personalized medicine in the news

  • A long-time leader in the personalized medicine field, Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann was recently nominated to the position of UCSF Chancellor. She sat down with other notable figures in the field, including, J. Craig Venter, Brook Byers, and Frank McCormick, to discuss the progress, hope, and challenges related to personalized medicine for cancer treatment. Goal of Personalized Medicine for Cancer Goes Mainstream. UCSF Today, June 3, 2009.
  • Evidence gaps are currently the greatest obstacle to implementing personalized medicine, notes a May 7, 2009 New England Journal of Medicine Perspective. Adequately designed studies assessing clinical utility - and an initiative backing this movement - will “hasten the day when personalized medicine transforms health care.”
  • The Personalized Medicine Coalition (PMC) published their 2009 The Case for Personalized Medicine in May. The report details how personalized medicine plays an increasingly integral role in delivering high-quality, cost-effective healthcare and presents evidence that personalized medicine will continue to grow in importance.
  • PGx Tools May Help Reassess Comparative Rx Effectiveness, PMC Official Tells Federal Council. Pharmacogenomics Reporter, April 15, 2009. A federal council held several planned meetings in March to gather stakeholders’ ideas and concerns regarding comparative effectiveness research.
  • National Cancer Institute’s Plan to Accelerate Cancer Research Announced. NIH News, April 20, 2009. The National Cancer Institute announced they will develop a personalized medicine platform for their future agenda.
  • Genomic Health’s Colon Cancer Dx Meets Prognostic, Not Predictive, Endpoint; Will Debut in 2010. Pharmacogenomics Reporter, April 15, 2009. A new colon cancer diagnostic tool can determine the likelihood of postoperative disease recurrence in patients with stage II colon cancer.
  • AdvaMed proposes risk-based approach for regulation of diagnostics. Genetics and Public Policy Newsletter, April 2009. A “risk-based” regulatory approach to “diagnostic innovation,” with specific focus on molecular technologies promoting the development of personalized medicine, was proposed to the Food and Drug Association (FDA).
  • Medicare Reviewing Potential Coverage of Genetic Tests. GenomeWeb Daily News, March 18, 2009. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services is beginning to take a closer look at genetic tests and will consider if some of these molecular tests should be approved for coverage under the program.