Groundbreaking Opioid Study Launches in Michigan

Thursday, April 5, 2018 General News
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KALAMAZOO, Mich., April 5, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- An innovative, genomics-based pilot program to study opioid abuse

and addiction was launched in Kalamazoo County recently. The program, made possible by funding provided by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), is a collaboration between the prime awardee
Kalamazoo Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (KCMHSAS), along with Ferris State University College of Pharmacy, and Genemarkers, a clinical testing lab specializing in genomics.

Genemarkers will utilize a pharmacogenomic testing panel and a custom screening panel to help researchers study how genetic data may improve opioid prescribing for chronic pain and medication-assisted treatment of opioid use disorder, and potentially identify patients at a greater risk for addiction. Ferris State University clinical researchers and KCMHSAS will analyze the data to better understand clinically actionable recommendations that could be used to optimize medication treatment of the patients enrolled in the program. Additionally, the team aims to identify genetic biomarkers that predict the risk of opioid addiction.

"Genetics play an important role in how an individual metabolizes and responds to medications, including opioids prescribed for pain management and those used for medication- assisted treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD)," said Dr. Anna Langerveld, Founder and CEO of Genemarkers.

State Rep. Brandt Iden (R-Oshtemo Twp.) championed the $750,000 in funding through supplemental appropriations specifically focused on preventing opioid abuse and addiction.

"I am so thankful to have this program right here in Kalamazoo County and I am proud to have been a part of getting this up and running. Opioid abuse is devastating and this program truly has the capacity to prevent deaths, promote healthy choices, and give people their lives back. A huge thank you goes out to all of the people who worked hard to make this happen, and I especially credit the patients who are brave enough to seek support from this program and others," said Rep. Iden.

The program is aligned with state-wide initiatives to combat the opioid crisis. Congressman Fred Upton (R- St. Joseph) was instrumental in securing a phase one $16.3 million award in federal funding to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) through the State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis Grant.

Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley is also in favor of battling this epidemic. Three months ago, as Calley signed into legislation Public Acts 248 and 249 of 2017, he said, "The addiction epidemic is now claiming more lives than car accidents… prevention and earlier detection of addiction will save lives."

This study is particularly relevant to the MDHHS as a recent Center for Disease Control report indicates that almost half of prescription painkiller overdoses occur in Medicaid-eligible patients.

"Integrating genomic information has the potential to improve health care and quality of life," said Jeff Patton, Director Kalamazoo Community Mental Health. "With an opioid epidemic crippling many communities, solutions for improving prescribing, treatment, and prevention are greatly needed."

About the Program Participants

Kalamazoo Community Mental Health Substance Abuse Services (KCMHSAS) has been delivering quality services and programs to improve the lives of those they serve for over 30 years. They promote and provide mental health, developmental disability and substance abuse resources that empower people to succeed.

Genemarkers is located in Kalamazoo, MI. The company was established in 2008 as a contract research organization specializing in genomics. The company performs pharmacogenomics (PGX) testing through its CLIA certified lab.

Ferris State University College of Pharmacy has been recognized as an accredited institution by the Michigan Board of Pharmacy since 1893 and is the principal source of pharmacy practitioners for the state of Michigan. Instructional and research opportunities at the college promote faculty and student interactions with a diverse group of medical disciplines through campuses located in Big Rapids and Grand Rapids and clinical practice sites throughout the State.  The College of Pharmacy has a proud tradition as the largest of the three pharmacy programs in Michigan, with graduates involved in all aspects of pharmacy practice and the pharmaceutical sciences.

Related Links: Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Kalamazoo Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (KCMHSAS) Ferris State University College of Pharmacy Genemarkers Public Act 248 of 2017 Public Act 249 of 2017

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SOURCE Genemarkers

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