TRANSPERS receives $2.3M in NCI funding

Dear Colleagues,

In this issue we are pleased to announce TRANSPERS has received a new three-year National Cancer Institute R01 grant on economics of precision medicine and will be part of a new Stanford grant on economics of precision health. We highlight a number of high-profile publications including a JAMA Viewpoint and Science Letter on the Medicare cancer sequencing coverage decision, publications in the Health Affairs Precision Medicine Theme Issue co-edited by the TRANSPERS Director, a theme section in Value in Health guest edited by the TRANSPERS Director, and the first publication from the UCSF Program in Prenatal and Pediatric Genome Sequencing (P3EGS) on payer coverage policies for pediatric whole exome sequencing in (Genetics In Medicine).

We are especially pleased to welcome three new TRANSPERS Payer Advisory Board members and to congratulate our former student researcher, Stephanie Parker, for her contributions to a recent publication in Genetics in Medicine and finishing her degree.

As always, we welcome your thoughts, comments, and ideas for collaboration.


Kathryn Phillips signature

Kathryn Phillips, PhD

TRANSPERS Founding Director

In this issue

Moving into the next decade of NIH funding: UCSF TRANSPERS receives $2.3M in NCI funding to study economics and decision-making for precision medicine

TRANSPERS has received a grant from the National Cancer Institute to examine the influence of economic factors on decision-making for multigene tests broadly and for cancer-related indications specifically. To answer these questions, TRANSPERS has partnered with collaborators from Stanford, American Institutes for Research, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, and Centers for Business Models in Healthcare. Grant details: Coverage, price, and reimbursement for multigene tests for cancer and related conditions. More grants: Current Grants.

TRANSPERS collaborates on new funding from Stanford’s Precision Health and Integrated Diagnostics Center (PHIND) to study economics of precision health

The Stanford PHIND Center awarded seed funding for a project entitled “A Decision-Analytic Framework for Economic Evaluation of Current Precision Health Approaches and Prioritization of Their Future Research and Development,” in which TRANSPERS Director, Kathryn Phillips, will be a collaborator. PHIND is dedicated to longitudinal monitoring and improvement of overall human health on a lifelong basis. This study is the first to examine economic evaluation approaches to examining this exciting and growing focus on precision health. Congratulations, Kathryn.

TRANSPERS collaborator Allison Kurian receives funding to study breast and ovarian cancer


Allison Kurian, MD, MSc

TRANSPERS collaborator Allison Kurian, Stanford University, in conjunction with Steven Katz from University of Michigan, received National Cancer Institute funding to examine potential gaps in genetic testing use, test results and treatment among newly diagnosed breast and ovarian cancer patients, according to pre-test HBOC risk and sociodemographics. Grant: Genetic testing, treatment use, and mortality after diagnosis of breast and ovarian cancer: the Georgia-California GeneLINK Initiative. Congratulations, Allison!!!

TRANSPERS publications in JAMA and Science lay out health policy agenda on new CMS coverage policy for sequencing tests in cancer patients

In a JAMA Viewpoint, TRANSPERS Director Kathryn Phillips addresses the question of: “Evolving Payer Coverage Policies on Genomic Sequencing Tests: Beginning of the End or End of the Beginning?” In a follow-up Science Letter, TRANSPERS collaborators explain how the new policy reflects a substantial shift in determining how genomic tests are evaluated for coverage, which provides a needed “roadmap” for coverage. Details:

TRANSPERS researchers publish study on private payer coverage of whole exome sequencing in collaboration with the NHGRI-funded UCSF Program in Prenatal and Pediatric Genome Sequencing

TRANSPERS researchers and collaborators from the UCSF Program in Prenatal and Pediatric Genome Sequencing (P3EGS), part of the NHGRI-funded Clinical Sequencing Evidence-Generating Research Program (CSER), published their first major study in Genetics in Medicine. This study, led by Michael Douglas, is the first in-depth review of private payer WES coverage policies for pediatric patients with neurodevelopmental disorders. The study found that five of the largest eight US private payers did not cover WES in 2015, but eight of the 15 largest payers covered WES by 2017. Details:

TRANSPERS contributes two papers to Health Affairs theme issue; reported in Washington Post

The preeminent policy journal Health Affairs published their first ever issue devoted to Precision Medicine, including a study from TRANSPERS Founding Director and Lead Author, Kathryn Phillips, who was also interviewed for an article in the Washington Post regarding the study. For this study, TRANSPERS faculty Kathryn Phillips (UCSF) and Pat Deverka (AIR) collaborated with Gillian Hooker of Concert Genetics to examine the rapid growth of genetic test availability and spending. In addition, Kathryn co-wrote the theme issue’s lead paper with lead author Geoff Ginsburg (Duke) on: “Precision Medicine: From Science to Value.” She also served as the theme advisor/guest editor by participating in the development of the issue, from conception to completion. Details:

TRANSPERS leads theme section in Value in Health on measuring the economic value of clinical sequencing

Five articles were published in the September issue of Value in Health theme section that included several TRANSPERS collaborators and was guest edited by Kathryn Phillips: Assessing the Value of Next-Generation Sequencing Technologies: An Introduction. Topics include:

  • Overview: Structured Review of Methodological Challenges and Approaches Used to Assess Economic Value of NGS

  • Can leveraging “big data” make health economic assessment of genomic sequencing more precise?

  • Characterizing the health and non-health benefits of genomics-driven health care: methods and methodological challenges

  • Cost Analyses of Genomic Sequencing - Lessons Learned from the MedSeq Project

  • History of Insurer Coverage Frameworks for Next-Generation Tumor Sequencing

TRANSPERS welcomes three new payer advisory board members

TRANSPERS welcomes Dr. Eric Lin, Medical Director, Clinical Content at Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Dr. Terry Gilliland, Senior Vice President and Chief Health Officer at Blue Shield of California, and Trisha Brown, Vice President, Product and Business Development at Beacon Laboratory Benefit Solutions, to our Payer Advisory Board. The Advisory Board includes senior executives from the top largest national private health plans and leading regional plans as well as thought leaders with industry, government, and Medicare perspectives. Details: Evidence and Reimbursement For Personalized Medicine Program.

And congratulations and good luck to Stephanie Parker!


We had the privilege of working with UCSF Biomedical Sciences PhD student, Stephanie Parker, who worked with us on a study of private payer coverage policies for pediatric whole exome sequencing. The culmination of the project resulted in our first major study publication in Genetics and Medicine from the UCSF Program in Prenatal and Pediatric Genome Sequencing (P3EGS) grant. Stephanie has now graduated! Thank you and congratulations, Stephanie!