Genetic tests pointing the way to personalized medical care are one of the most prominent results of genetic sequencing research. But what protections are in place to make sure that those tests are safe and dependable? Writing in a policy analysis in the journal Science this week, genetics policy experts argue that no mechanisms currently exist to ensure that genetic tests are supported by adequate evidence before they go to market, or that marketing claims on the up and up. "Marketing unproven tests to an unsuspecting public could undermine the very future of personalized medicine," said Kathy Hudson, director of the Genetics and Public Policy Center at Johns Hopkins University and one of the authors of the report.
Some companies have even begun to offer at-home genetic tests that would provide the ability to scan a patient's entire genome, looking for potential trouble spots. "Health professionals are now faced with the prospect of their patients coming to the office, a DNA profile in hand, asking for preventative management tailored to their specific disease risks," wrote Ken Offit, Chief of the Clinical Genetics Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, in the March 19 special genomics issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. In this segment, join Ira and guests for a look at the emerging field of personalized genetic testing.
Produced by Karin Vergoth