Posts Tagged ‘genetic testing’



Cigna’s Decision on Genetic Testing Exposes Educational Gaps in Today’s Healthcare

August 20th, 2013
Posted by

“Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.” Confucius’ ancient saying underscores a current issue in healthcare; how well do the major players in healthcare—patients, providers and payors—really understand the latest advances in genetics and disease? A recent Bloomberg News article about Cigna’s decision to require genetic counseling before approving a breast cancer genetic test has exposed this educational gap. In this post, we consider the implications of this decision.
 
Cigna’s requirement for patient counseling in advance of a specific genetic test being covered demonstrates that the balance of power in the healthcare trilogy is by no means set. While in this case, the payor has directed what it considers to be the appropriate use of genetic testing, Cigna’s action raises these important questions:
  Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Our Views | No Comments »





On “Empowering Patients in the Age of Genomic Medicine”

June 4th, 2012
Posted by

The concept of the citizen scientist is new to healthcare, since medicine has historically been physician-driven. But the citizen scientist has long been an important part of many other areas of science.  With access to the Internet and social networking, the contributions of citizen scientists (and the body of knowledge they both access and create) are more profound than ever. In healthcare, the capability for genome testing takes this citizenship to a new level, opening the gates to truly personal medicine.
 
At the same time, as medicine moves away from reaction to prevention, we are seeing more attention paid to mitigating disease, improving quality of care, and reducing costs. Genetic testing can provide an early indication of disease that, in turn, provides an opportunity for early intervention or prevention, and helps target the right treatment.
 
Thus armed with information and the power of the genome, “citizen patients” can then turn healthcare into a less passive and more participatory enterprise, says Jill Hagenkord, Chief Medical Officer of Complete Genomics. These citizens may also usher in new philanthropic avenues, she suggests. Following is a recent post by Dr. Hagenkord, reprinted with permission of Complete Genomics.*
  Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted in Our Views | No Comments »





Companion Diagnostics: More Targeted Medicine on the Horizon

September 12th, 2011
Posted by

It’s increasingly clear to anyone who deals with human health – from the bench biologist to the clinical oncologist – that humans are a heterogeneous species. As a result, a drug that works well in one individual may not work at all in another. Thus, the field of targeted (or personalized) medicine came about so doctors could optimize patient care through the use of genetic and biomarker testing. Such tests help identify patients who are (or who are not) most likely to respond to a given therapy. The field is often promoted as a way to get the “right drug to the right patient at the right dose.”
 
Correct dosing is critical because about 25 percent of all outpatient prescription drugs in the U.S. are taken by patients with genetic variations (specifically, polymorphisms) that affect absorption, metabolism or excretion of those drugs. Again, at risk of stating the obvious, human beings are heterogeneous.

  Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted in Our Views | No Comments »





Adding DNA to the ABCs of Med School

February 3rd, 2011
Posted by

Last week, GenomeWeb News reported (free subscription required for full access) that a multi-disciplinary team from Tufts University had “urged gradual and calculated incorporation of genomic material into medical school training programs” after the team had looked at potential consequences of introducing genomics-related training into the curriculum at Tufts University School of Medicine.
 
According to the GenomeWeb article, several medical school faculty members were voluntarily genotyped using 23andMe tests. Medical students then analyzed the collected information. Based on a year’s plus analysis and implementation of the program, the researchers called for inclusion of personal genomics-related training and information within medical schools.
 
The lead study author wrote, “We strongly advocate that genomic analysis and personalized medicine is a necessity for modern medical school education… Our experiences illustrate that adding this material to a medical school curriculum is a complex process that deserves careful thought and broad discussion within the academic community.”
  Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted in Our Views | No Comments »