Genetic Testing to Help Veterans

The Veterans Administration (VA) and Sanford Health Https:// are partnering to soon provide free genetic testing to veterans. The program called the VA “Pharmacogenomics Action for Cancer SuRvivorship” (PHASeR) testing program will begin a pilot program this year at the Durham VA Health Care System.

The program will enroll all cancer survivors who receive treatment at the facility and the program is to be expanded to enroll 250,000 veterans at 125 sites. VA Secretary Robert Wilkie reports, “The screening test will help providers at the VA prescribe the most appropriate medications at the right dose for cancer survivors.”

PHASeR is being funded by a $25 million gift from philanthropist Denny Sanford and is an effort by Sanford Health to raise matching funds. The testing will help providers determine which medications will be most effective for patients, help improve access to appropriate treatments and reduce adverse drug reactions, which according to research can cost up to $30 billion per year.

The test results will help with clinical decision-making for all types of prescribed medications, including cardiovascular and mental health diseases, and for pain management. Veterans will be able to access the testing at their local VA facilities and Sanford Health will process the tests at their South Dakota-based Imagenetics facility.

Sanford Imagenetics began in 2014. So far, more than 90 percent of patients that have been tested have been found to carry a genetic change that could affect medication selection or dosing. Test results are shared with physicians through the electronic medical record to ensure efficiency and accuracy in choosing treatments.



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