The IGNITE Network: A Model for Genomic Medicine Implementation

Pharmacogenomics is an up-and-coming field which has a lot of potential to contribute to personalized medicine and optimizing drug therapy outcomes for patients. However, since pharmacogenetics is such a new field, patients, clinicians, and researchers alike are attempting to understand how to gather and use genomic data in order to optimize clinical decision-making, prescribing, and treating.

The National Institutes of Health funded the IGNITE (Implementing GeNomics In pracTicE) Network in 2013 to suport the development and investigation of genomic-based medicine. The goals of IGNITE are to 1) expand genomic medicine implementation efforts, 2) develop collaborative projects in genomic medicine, 3) contribute to evidence-based medicine outcomes using genomic information, and 4) define and share the best practices of genomic medicine. IGNITE consists of 6 members at Duke University, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Indiana University, University of Florida, University of Maryland, and Vanderbilt University, with the Coordinating Center located at University of Pennsylvania. Each center conducts collaborative research on family health history, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, underserved health populations, cancer, and other disease states, all with the goal of determining how genetic libraries and pharmacogenomics can fit into diagnosing, prescribing, and achieving optimal health outcomes.

I am personally very interested in pharmacogenomics and love to see this new field getting national funding which is being participated in by such prestigious universities around the country. However, I wonder if other people feel differently. Do others feel that too much emphasis in modern medicine being placed on the role of pharmacogenomics? Are we pouring too much money into a new field which hasn’t had adequate time to prove its value in informing clinical decision-making? Some people don’t even want to have their genome sequenced (we learned that in Drug Development with Dr. Empey the other week) – are we pouring money into something that most patients won’t even want to participate in? Or do we all believe that sometime in the not-so-distant future we will all have our genomes sequenced for reference at each PCP check-up visit?

Weitzel, KW, Alexander M, Bernhardt BA, et al. The IGNITE network: a model for genomic medicine implementation and research. BMC Med Genomics. 2016;9(1):1.

1 thought on “The IGNITE Network: A Model for Genomic Medicine Implementation”

  1. I am also very interested in pharmacogenomics, but you raise some interesting points. I do not believe that too much of an emphasis is being placed on pharmacogenomics currently. Pharmacogenomics is simply another new path to lead us to better treatments/medications. Though some patients may choose not to have their genomes sequenced, it seems as though the healthcare field as a whole is moving to individualized approaches. Having access to a single patient’s genome will give professionals incredible insight into who they are trying to help. I feel that like most changes, it will start with a few people getting their genomes sequenced, and slowly morph into common practice.

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