New genetic testing will be inexpensive and democratized – NYT


New Genetic Tests Hold Promise

A new article published in the New York Times is really fascinating. A Silicon Valley start-up, Color Genomics, found a simple way to test for genetic mutations responsible for breast and ovarian cancers. They used saliva samples and full automation together with medical doctors interpreting the results for USD 250 per test, a tenth of the competitors’price. As women will be able to pay out-of-the-pocket themselves, the company will not even bother to negotiate with insurance companies. For women not able to finance the cost themselves, Color Genomics will give it for free.

It is only the starting point of a new trend. New diagnostics companies are emerging and finding new ways to deliver the same results but cheaper than the big firms. Illumina is one of the major companies understanding and capturing this trend with the launch of a low cost machine.

Another compelling example in the start-up world is Theranos, a firm able to perform a lot of lab tests on a single blood drop at very low prices; or Counsly, a company that develop low-cost genetic test for parents planning to have children.

However, some questions remain about the impact on healthcare costs, who should be tested,… Below are some recent resources bringing elements of response to these points.

Will lowering the price of genetic testing raise the cost of medical care? (Forbes Article)

What patients need to know about cancer genetic testing (American Cancer Society)

NYT Article

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