Tuesday, July 1, 2008

IndyStar - Do you want to know? Direct-to- consumer DNA tests ...

PredictER's Kimberly Quaid and Indiana University Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics' Dr. Gail Vance comment on direct-to-consumer genetic testing in today's issue of The Indianapolis Star. Quaid notes:

"For a lot of genetic conditions, there is not much we can actually do to change them. So, what are people getting out of the tests?" … While legitimate genetic tests exist, such as one to detect the BRAC mutations for breast cancer, Quaid said, she doesn't see the sense in identifying risks for every disease. She also doubts the validity of tests used by some firms. … Traditionally, health-related genetic tests have been available only through health-care providers, who decide whether they are based on family history and symptoms, and who interpret results for patients. Quaid said that method better safeguards consumers.

1 comment:

Mr. Gunn said...

I think it's a misunderstanding of the technology that leads to attempts to regulate SNP profiling as DTC genetic testing. Yes, it certainly looks similar, but non-disease related information is revealed as well. Certainly the testing labs should be CLIA certified, have geneticists on staff, and use validated methods of analysis, but requiring a doctor's order to find out if your ancestors really came from Scotland or if you're hypersensitive to bitter flavors is just a little nonsensical.

Requiring a doctor's order does nothing to improve consumer protection over the regulations above which are already adopted by the major providers such as 23andme and Navigenics, and the average GP isn't a geneticist anyways, so they really only have three options: issue blanket denials so they don't face liability for not acting on revealed risks, rubber stamp all requests, or refer all requests to a geneticist, which the major providers already have on staff, making such requirement simply a useless layer of bureaucracy.

If you ask any GP, they don't want any part of it and would much rather the liability burden be assumed by the company providing the test.