Sanford Health in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, has announced a $25 million gift from philanthropist T. Denny Sanford in support of a precision medicine initiative aimed at improving patient care for veterans.
With the gift, Sanford Health, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, will launch a testing program called PHASeR (Pharmacogenomics Action for Cancer Survivorship) for U.S. veterans that will help determine which medications are most effective for patients, thereby improving access to appropriate treatments and reducing adverse drug reactions, which result in costs of up to $30 billion annually, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Veterans will access the test at their local VA facility, and Sanford Health will process the test results at its South Dakota-based Imagenetics facility, with the patient's physician using the results to inform their clinical decision making with respect to a variety of pharmaceutical treatments. According to Sanford Health, the effort will reach up to two hundred and fifty thousand million veterans at a hundred and twenty-five sites by 2022.
"This will be the largest pharmacogenetic testing effort in the country by orders of magnitude," said Deepak Voora, director of the PHASeR program and an associate professor in the Center for Applied Genomics & Precision Medicine at the Duke University School of Medicine. "We have the potential to improve patient care for each veteran we test, and the scale of the effort will allow us to see trends and conduct research that could improve medical care for the entire population."