Study sheds light on short-term cost implications of integrating whole genome sequencing into clinical care

Dear Colleagues,

In this issue we congratulate TRANSPERS collaborators on a newly published study on the short-term costs of whole genome sequencing, two large new grants funded by Genome Canada, and a study on the use of chemotherapy that was cited in the Wall Street Journal. We also note that registration for the AcademyHealth conference is open. That program includes a session that I will lead on “New Data Sources & Approaches to Partnering for Data Access.”

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


Kathryn Phillips signature

Kathryn Phillips, PhD

TRANSPERS Center Director

In this issue

Newly published study sheds light on short-term cost implications of integrating whole genome sequencing into clinical care


Kurt Christensen, MPH, PhD

An ongoing issue has been the short-term cost implications of integrating whole genome sequencing (WGS) into clinical care. A newly published study led by Kurt Christensen, MPH, PhD, an instructor of medicine in the Division of Genetics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and TRANSPERS collaborator, sheds new light on this important topic. The TRANSPERS team collaborated with Kurt in this pilot study, which is the first to provide insights into the cost of integrating WGS into the everyday practice of medicine. The project analyzed both the immediate costs of WGS itself as well as downstream spending six months after genetic information was returned to physicians and their patients. The research team found that downstream costs did not significantly differ between patients who had received WGS and those that did not. The team’s findings are reported in Genetics in Medicine: Short-term costs of integrating whole-genome sequencing into primary care and cardiology settings: a pilot randomized trial.

TRANSPERS congratulates two collaborators on recent accomplishments


Deborah Marshall, PhD, MHSA

We are excited to announce two grants awarded to long time TRANSPERS collaborator, Deborah Marshall at the University of Calgary, from Genome Canada’s Large Scale Research Project Competitions in Genomics & Precision Health. Deborah will be leading the Health Economics components of each four-year grant. Grants focus on Diagnostic Care for Rare Genetic Diseases (Care4Rare) and Precision Decisions for Childhood Arthritis (UCAN-CURE) . Congratulations, Deborah, on these awards for important work!


Allison Kurian, MD, MSc

We congratulate TRANSPERS collaborator, Stanford oncologist Allison Kurian, on being cited in a recent Wall Street Journal article, “Chemotherapy, a Trusty Weapon Against Cancer, Falls Out of Favor.” The article referred to a study by Dr. Kurian and Dr. Katz on the declining use of chemotherapy to treat early breast, published in December in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute: Recent Trends in Chemotherapy Use and Oncologists’ Treatment Recommendations for Early-Stage Breast Cancer. The study of 3,000 women with early-stage breast cancer—and some 500 doctors who treated them from 2013 to 2015—found that use of chemotherapy declined overall during that time, to 21.3% of cases from 34.5%. This study provides evidence for the ongoing debate about whether some women with breast cancer can safely forgo chemotherapy. Congratulations, Allison!

Academy Health 2018 Annual Research Meeting

TRANSPERS is pleased to share that registration is open for the 2018 Annual Research Meeting. Join the foremost experts at the intersection of health, health care, and policy to share important findings and showcase the latest research on how the health system works, what it costs, and how to improve it.

The largest meeting of its kind, the Annual Research Meeting (ARM), June 24–26 in Seattle is packed with new research, cutting edge methods, and robust discussions on the impact of health services research (HSR) on health policy and practice. Kathryn Phillips will be leading a panel on “New Data Sources & Approaches to Partnering for Data Access.”