Faculty and alumni collaborate on statewide study of precision oncology testing

Targeted cell

By Kara Sweet

Published November 6, 2018

BUFFALO, N.Y. — A study led by the University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences on the patterns of HER2 testing in New York State was recently published in the journal Pharmacogenomics.

The study, titled “Analysis of outpatient HER2 testing in New York State using the statewide planning and research cooperative system,” results from a successful partnership between UB SPPS and the New York State Department of Health, which allowed the research team to have unique access to the Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System. The study summarized data from over 390 healthcare facilities, covering over 20 million users per year, to give a representative snapshot of the use of precision oncology testing in New York State.

HER2 testing is used to guide targeted drug therapy against certain types of breast cancer. Data yielded from the study may serve as the foundation for further research into potential socioeconomic or geographic factors that impact access or utilization of HER2 testing in large populations. This methodology may be translatable to the study of precision oncology testing at the national level.   

The study was an exceptional collaboration of UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences faculty and alumni. Alumnus Erik Hefti, PharmD/MS ’14 & PhD ‘17, was first author on the study, which was part of his doctoral thesis work. Hefti is now Executive Director and Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Harrisburg University in Pennsylvania. Khyatiben Rana, PharmD ’17, participated in the study as part of her final year Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE) rotations.

Javier Blanco, Clin. Biochem, PhD, professor, pharmaceutical sciences, was co-principal investigator on the study, along with David Jacobs, PharmD ’11, PhD, assistant professor, pharmacy practice, who provided unique expertise in pharmacoepidemiology.

For over 130 years, the University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences has continually been a leader in the education of pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists, renowned for innovation in clinical practice and research. The school is accredited by the American Council of Pharmaceutical Education (ACPE) and is the No. 1 ranked school of pharmacy in New York State and No. 22 in the United States by U.S. News & World Report.