Office of Research & Development

VA RESEARCH QUARTERLY UPDATE
This Issue: Ensuring High-Quality Care | Table of Contents: Fall 2016 | Download this issue

New Initiatives

Exploring precision medicine for depression


Dr. David Oslin (center), with VA and the University of Pennsylvania, is leading a study on the use of genetic results to guide depression treatment. At the computer is VA nurse Trisha Stump. <em>(Photo by Tommy Leonardi)</em>
Dr. David Oslin (center), with VA and the University of Pennsylvania, is leading a study on the use of genetic results to guide depression treatment. At the computer is VA nurse Trisha Stump. (Photo by Tommy Leonardi)

Dr. David Oslin (center), with VA and the University of Pennsylvania, is leading a study on the use of genetic results to guide depression treatment. At the computer is VA nurse Trisha Stump. (Photo by Tommy Leonardi)

VA Health Services Research and Development and VA's Genomic Medicine Implementation and QUERI programs are funding a study of precision medicine's role in improving treatment for Veterans with major depressive disorder.

The initiative, titled PRIME care (PRecision medicine in MEntal health care), will be led by Dr. David Oslin of the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center in Philadelphia.

In May 2016, a VA Evidence-based Synthesis Program (ESP) brief found that pharmacogenomics (the study of how genes affect response to drugs) might help identify optimal treatments for those with depression by helping predict how they might respond to particular antidepressants.

To that end, Oslin's group will provide genomic test results for Veterans with major depressive disorder to both the patients and their providers, in hopes of establishing the clinical validity of pharmacogenomic testing.

Besides looking at the Veterans' outcomes, the study will examine the most effective ways to provide these results to Veterans and health care professionals. Proponents hope the study will help guide similar studies of other illnesses and medications.

Precision medicine is an emerging approach for disease treatment and prevention that takes into account individual variability in genes, environment, and lifestyle.

Major depressive disorder is a common but serious mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. It affects how people feel, think, and behave, and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems.

In VA, genomic medicine implementation is focused on the improvement of Veterans' health through large-scale genetic testing, and on developing approaches to validate research-to-practice tests so they can be applied in routine care.


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