Pharmacists for Digital Health, a non-profit student-led organization based in Richmond, Virginia, has a passion for combining technology, including coding, robotics, informatics, and more, with the importance and beauty of pharmacy, an ever-evolving field in healthcare. For this hackathon, having just finished an assignment analyzing diplotypes and their matching phenotypes, we had a vision where we could use the work of pharmacogenomics in such a way that a patient's medication and dose could be personalized to them. Personalized medicine and pharmacogenomics go hand in hand, and with prescribers constantly struggling to cater to their patients, this could be the quick and easy solution they were looking for.
What it does
POPGx takes a patient's diplotype, or pair of alleles pertaining to the gene that metabolizes their medications, and compares it to the medications inputted; from there, POPGx will pull the appropriate guideline for the provider to reference without forcing the provider to go digging through tons of unrelated papers and outdated guidelines. This drug-gene interaction checker also provides counseling points and appropriate dosing for that given patient according to the metabolism phenotype they display.
How we built it
KNIME is an open source interface that allows for users to create their own programs, calculators, data analyzers, and whatever else one needs without needing to know how to code — this entire program was coded without us knowing how to string code together!
Challenges we ran into
We consistently had problems running multiple drugs or multiple genes, and even now, sometimes the program will act up. But we eventually found solutions to these issues, despite the number of times it has happened.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Being able to even create a user-friendly interface that is very easy to navigate, appears clean, and can advise providers on what doses to go with based on their patient's phenotype, are some of the achievements we are proud of with POPGx. We also contended on the name and found POPGx to be the most charming and easy to remember!
What we learned
Being put under the pressure of coding an entire interface in less than one day truly brought out some real potential and ambition. We learned a lot about KNIME and how to troubleshoot and also had a great bonding experience.
What's next for POPGx
There are a few things we have in mind for POPGx: cleaning up the UI a little further, adding more gene-drug interactions and consultations, and being able to cater to both patients and providers. We had less than a day to produce this program, so it does have some work left for us to do later!