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HSR&D Precision Mental Healthcare Study Gains Widespread Attention

June 27, 2023

David Oslin, MD

David Oslin, MD

David Oslin, MD, of the Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center and Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion in Pennsylvania, was recently named a recipient of HSR&D’s 2022 Best Research Paper of the Year Award for his article on pharmacogenomic testing—a form of “precision medicine” that takes into account patients’ genetic-driven response to medication. The research conducted by Dr. Oslin and colleagues has earned widespread media coverage, an invitation to present the research to VA’s Under Secretary for Health, and interest from clinical offices. Dr. Oslin’s study showed that pharmacogenomic testing resulted in better patient response to medication and improved symptoms over the course of six months.

Dr. Oslin’s research focused on genes linked with metabolism to predict how patients would respond to medication for depression. Pharmacogenomic testing “helps us better understand how you metabolize antidepressants or even other medicines,” Dr. Oslin said in an NPR “Science Friday” podcast. “The goal of our project was to see if that actually helped treat patients or lead to better outcomes for patients.” Using pharmacogenomic testing to determine a patient’s likely response to antidepressant medication can help avoid the trial-and-error approach that often occurs with antidepressant prescriptions, and it can prevent adverse outcomes. Future analysis might help determine if it’s possible to “better target who to test and who might benefit,” Dr. Oslin said.

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