This feature was originally published in PittPharmacy.

A SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) here, a SNP there, and, pretty soon, you have the potential for personalizing medication use or “precision medicine.” A growing body of evidence indicates that by knowing an individual’s genetic make-up for certain genes, we can select the most appropriate medication for that individual.

Assistant Professor Philip Empey and his colleagues have tackled how to move these discoveries from the research laboratory to clinical practice. They have created
a unique training program called Test2LearnTM that allows learners to use their own genetic information to discover how genetics can affect drug efficacy and toxicity. Learners are given the choice of using a generic gene database or signing up for 23andMeTM, an analysis of about 500,000
SNPs that can inform them of their genotype.

Soloman Adams, a current PittPharmacy graduate student, created a software system to help students focus on the drug metabolism related SNPs. The instruction also includes discussions regarding the ethics of using genetic information for patients and how the students can make an informed decision about obtaining their own genetic results. Test2LearnTM is a dramatic success with PittPharmacy students who are prepared to lead the way in applying pharmacogenetics to patient care.

The success of Test2LearnTM and the unique partnership with 23andMeTM, led to a partnership with the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Foundation, to provide Test2LearnTM to pharmacists across the nation. This program will include both online home study and in-person live components, including an optional activity for learners to undergo personal genomic testing. Community pharmacist participants will engage in the in-person aspect of the program, as well as receive the instruction necessary to administer the training to others.

“Pharmacogenomics is considered a new frontier in patient care, with great promise for patient outcomes and public health, and the ‘train-the- trainer’ focus of the fall 2016 national tour will expand the knowledge of it exponentially”, said NACDS President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE.

Empey, PharmD, PhD, BCPS noted, “Participants who have learned using this model tell us it makes a meaningful impact in their education. Our published outcome data shows students are highly engaged and achieved better learning outcomes. We are excited about offering this innovative certificate.”

Leading the way for PittPharmacy are members of the Test2LearnTM team: Philip E. Empey, James Coons, PharmD, BCPS (AQ CV), Lucas A. Berenbrok, PharmD, James M. Stevenson, PharmD, MS, and PittPharmacy graduate student Solomon M. Adams, PharmD.

Learn more by visiting the Test2LearnTM web site.

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