Highlights From the Precision Medicine World Conference

November 1, 2021

On September 23-24, 2021, more than 300 guests and visitors from all areas of precision medicine came together for the Precision Medicine World Conference (PMWC), hosted by the Institute for Precision Medicine (IPM), a partnership of the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC. Industry and academic leaders spoke to the diverse crowd of health care professionals, researchers, scientists, and students. While the meeting spanned numerous topics and discussed opportunities and barriers in precision medicine internationally, it also highlighted those areas where Pitt and UPMC are among the leaders in bringing precision care to patients.

Phillip Empey, PharmD, PhD, the IPM’s associate director for pharmacogenomic, discussed in detail how he and his team at the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences have been implementing population-scale pharmacogenomics within UPMC – our large pre-emptive pharmacogenomic profiling of 150,000 in our health system with return of results under development to enable ‘smart-prescribing’ by UPMC physicians. 

In further evidence of the utilization of genomics in our patients in real time, the conference focused a session on the use of whole genome sequencing to diagnose and treat newborns in neonatal intensive care units (NICU). Stephen Kingsmore, MD, DSc, one of the pioneers in this area discussed his life’s work, with Thomas Diacovo, MD, and Jerry Vockley, MD, PhD, FACMG, discussing our local approach to rapidly sequencing patients in-house in partnership with the UPMC Genome Center. Clinical data strongly support the value of implementing rapid sequencing of newborns in the NICU given that genetic diseases are the leading cause of infant mortality. Cost effectiveness to health systems has further been explored, demonstrating clear value and resulting in reimbursement in multiple states. 

UPMC Chief Innovation Officer Derek C. Angus, MD, MPH, FRCP, presented in a session focused on novel trial designs and described how UPMC has used novel adaptive trial platforms leveraging the medical record to determine priority combinations for COVID-19 treatment, which was highly successful. These adaptive clinical trial designs are groundbreaking and will be increasing at UPMC as we seek more rapid large-scale clinical comparisons of treatment approaches to determine optimal therapy for patients with a variety of medical conditions.

To learn more, view the presentations below; please utilize pmwc2021pitt as the access code: 

Dr. Empey Sep 23 11.15-11.30 Philip Empey.mp4 on Vimeo
Dr. Kingsmore Sep 24 10.45-11.15 Stephen Kingsmore.mp4 on Vimeo
Dr. Diacovo Sep 24 10.30-10.45 Tom Diacovo.mp4 on Vimeo
Dr. Vockley Sep 24 11.15-11.30 Jerry Vockley .mp4 on Vimeo
Dr. Angus Sep 23 16.35-16.50 Derek Angus.mp4 on Vimeo