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Ethics Behind Genetic Testing in Breast Cancer: A Webinar by Laura Carfang of survivingbreastcancer.org

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, PhD

The following are Notes from a Webinar sponsored by survivingbreastcancer.org  on March 12,2020.

The webinar started with a brief introduction of attendees , most who are breast cancer survivors.  Survivingbreastcancer.org is an organization committed to supplying women affected with breast cancer up to date information, including podcasts, webinars, and information for treatment, care, and finding support and support groups.

Some of the comments of survivors:

  • being strong
  • making sure to not feel overwhelmed on initial diagnosis
  • get good information
  • sometimes patients have to know to ask for genetic testing as physicians may not offer it

Laura Carfang discussed her study results presented at  a bioethics conference in Clearwater, FL   on issues driving breast cancer patient’s  as well as at-risk women’s decision making process for genetic testing.  The study was a phenomenological study in order to determine, through personal lived experiences, what are pivotal choices to make genetic testing decisions in order to improve clinical practice.

The research involved in depth interviews with 6 breast cancer patients (all women) who had undergone breast cancer genetic testing.

Main themes coming from the interviews

  • information informing decisions before diagnosis:  they did not have an in depth knowledge of cancer or genetics or their inherent risk before the diagnosis.
  • these are my genes and I should own it: another common theme among women who were just diagnosed and contemplating whether or not to have genetic testing
  • information contributing to decision making after diagnosis: women wanted the option, and they wanted to know if they carry certain genetic mutations and how it would guide their own personal decision to choose the therapy they are most comfortable with and gives them the best chance to treat their cancer (the decision and choice is very personal)
  • communicating to family members and children was difficult for the individual affected;  women found that there were so many ramifications about talking with family members (how do I tell children, do family members really empathize with what I am going through).  Once women were tested they felt a great strain because they now were more concerned with who in their family (daughters) were at risk versus when they first get the diagnosis the bigger concern was obtaining information.
  • Decision making to undergo genetic testing not always linear but a nonlinear process where women went from wanting to get tested for the information to not wanting to get tested for reasons surrounding negative concerns surrounding knowing results (discrimination based on results, fear of telling family members)
  • Complex decision making involves a shift or alteration in emotion
  • The Mayo Clinic has come out with full support of genetic testing and offer to any patient.

Additional resources discussed was a book by Leslie Ferris Yerger “Probably Benign” which discusses misdiagnoses especially when a test comes back as “probably benign” and how she found it was not.

 

for more information on further Podcasts and to sign up for newsletters please go to https://www.survivingbreastcancer.org/

and @SBC_org

More articles on this Online Open Access Journal on Cancer and Bioethics Include:

Ethical Concerns in Personalized Medicine: BRCA1/2 Testing in Minors and Communication of Breast Cancer Risk

Tweets and Re-Tweets by @Pharma_BI ‏and @AVIVA1950 at 2019 Petrie-Flom Center Annual Conference: Consuming Genetics: Ethical and Legal Considerations of New Technologies, Friday, May 17, 2019 from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM EDT @Harvard_Law

Genomics & Ethics: DNA Fragments are Products of Nature or Patentable Genes?

Study Finds that Both Women and their Primary Care Physicians Confusion over Ovarian Cancer Symptoms May Lead to Misdiagnosis

 

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Cambridge Healthtech Institute’s Third Annual

Clinical NGS Assays

Addressing Validation, Standards, and Clinical Relevance for Improved Outcomes

August 23-24, 2016 | Grand Hyatt Hotel | Washington, DC


View Preliminary Agenda

Molecular diagnostics, particularly next-generation sequencing (NGS), have become an integral component of disease diagnosis. Still, there is work to be done to establish these tools as the standard of care. The Third Annual Clinical NGS Assays event will address NGS assay validation, establishing NGS standards, and determining clinical relevance. The pros and cons of various techniques such as gene panels, whole exome, and whole genome sequencing will also be debated with regards to depth of coverage, clinical utility, and reimbursement. Overall, this event will address the needs of both researchers and clinicians while exploring strategies to increase collaboration for improved patient outcomes.

Special Early Registration Savings Available
Register Now to Save up to $450

Preliminary Agenda

ASSAY VALIDATION AND ANALYSIS

Best Practices for Using Genome in a Bottle Reference Materials to Benchmark Variant Calls
Justin Zook, National Institute of Standards and Technology

NGS in Clinical Diagnosis: Aspects of Quality Management
Pinar Bayrak-Toydemir, M.D., Ph.D., FACMG, Associate Professor, Pathology, University of Utah; Medical Director, Molecular Genetics and Genomics, ARUP Laboratories

Thorough Validation and Implementation of Preimplantation Genetic Screening for Aneuploidy by NGS
Rebekah Zimmerman, Ph.D., Laboratory Director, Clinical Genetics, Foundation for Embryonic Competence

EXOME INTERPRETATION CHALLENGES

Are We There Yet? The Odyssey of Exome Analysis and Interpretation
Avni B. Santani, Ph.D., Director, Genomic Diagnostics, Pathology and Lab Medicine, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Challenges in Exome Interpretation: Intronic Variants
Rong Mao, M.D., Associate Professor, Pathology, University of Utah; Medical Director, Molecular Genetics and Genomics, ARUP Laboratories

Exome Sequencing: Case Studies of Diagnostic and Ethical Challenges
Lora J. H. Bean, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Human Genetics, Emory University

ESTABLISHING STANDARDS

Implementing Analytical and Process Standards
Karl V. Voelkerding, M.D., Professor, Pathology, University of Utah; Medical Director for Genomics and Bioinformatics, ARUP Laboratories

Assuring the Quality of Next-Generation Sequencing in Clinical Laboratory Practice
Shashikant Kulkarni, M.S., Ph.D., Professor, Pathology and Immunology; Head of Clinical Genomics, Genomics and Pathology Services; Director, Cytogenomics and Molecular Pathology, Washington University at St. Louis

Sponsored Presentation to be Announced by Genection

PANEL DISCUSSION: GENE PANEL VS. WHOLE EXOME VS. WHOLE GENOME

Panelists:
John Chiang, Ph.D., Director, Casey Eye Institute, Oregon Health & Science University
Avni B. Santani, Ph.D., Director, Genomic Diagnostics, Pathology and Lab Medicine, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Additional Panelist to be Announced

DETERMINING CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE AND RETURNING RESULTS

Utility of Implementing Clinical NGS Assays as Standard-of-Care in Oncology
Helen Fernandes, Ph.D., Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College

An NGS Inter-Laboratory Study to Assess Performance and QC – Sponsored by Seracare
Andrea Ferreira-Gonzalez, Ph.D., Chair, Molecular Diagnostics Division, Pathology, Virginia Commonwealth University Medical School

This conference is part of the Eighth Annual Next-Generation Dx Summit.


Track Sponsor: SeraCare


For exhibit & sponsorship opportunities, please contact:

Joseph Vacca, M.Sc.
Associate Director, Business Development
Cambridge Healthtech Institute
T: (+1) 781-972-5431
E: jvacca@healthtech.com

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Reproductive Genetic Dx | Nov. 18-19 | Boston, MA
Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, Ph.D.
Reproductive Genetic Diagnostics
Advances in Carrier Screening, Preimplantation Diagnostics, and POC Testing
November 18-19, 2015  |  Boston, MA
healthtech.com/reproductive-genetic-diagnosticsMount Sinai Hospital’s Dr. Tanmoy Mukherjee to Present at Reproductive Genetic Diagnostics ConferenceTanmoy MukherjeePodcastNumerical Chromosomal Abnormalities after PGS and D&C
Tanmoy Mukherjee, M.D., Assistant Clinical Professor, Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science, Mount Sinai Hospital
This review provides an analysis of the most commonly identified numerical chromosome abnormalities following PGS and first trimester D&C samples in an infertile population utilizing ART. Although monosomies comprised >50% of all cytogenetic anomalies identified following PGS, there were very few identified in the post D&C samples. This suggests that while monosomies occur frequently in the IVF population, they commonly do not implant.

In a CHI podcast, Dr. Mukherjee discusses the current challenges facing reproductive specialists in regards to genetic diagnosis of recurrent pregnancy loss, as well as how NGS is affecting this type of testing > Listen to Podcast

Register  SAVE up to $200, Register by October 9

Learn More  |  Present a Poster  |  Sponsorship & Exhibit Information  |  View Brochure

CONFERENCE-AT-A-GLANCE

ADVANCES IN NGS AND OTHER TECHNOLOGIES

Keynote Presentation: Current and Expanding Invitations for Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD)
Joe Leigh Simpson, MD, President for Research and Global Programs, March of Dimes Foundation

Next-Generation Sequencing: Its Role in Reproductive Medicine
Brynn Levy, Professor of Pathology & Cell Biology, CUMC; Director, Clinical Cytogenetics Laboratory, Co-Director, Division of Personalized Genomic Medicine, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University Medical Center, and the New York Presbyterian Hospital

CCS without WGA
Nathan Treff, Director, Molecular Biology Research, Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey, Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Adjunct Faculty Member, Department of Genetics, Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey

Concurrent PGD for Single Gene Disorders and Aneuploidy on a Single Trophectoderm Biopsy
Rebekah S. Zimmerman, Ph.D., FACMG, Director, Clinical Genetics, Foundation for Embryonic Competence

Live Birth of Two Healthy Babies with Monogenic Diseases and Chromosome Abnormality Simultaneously Avoided by MALBAC-based Combined PGD and PGS
Xiaoliang Sunney Xie, Ph.D., Mallinckrodt Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University

Good Start GeneticsAnalytical Validation of a Novel NGS-Based Pre-implantation Genetic Screening Technology
Mark Umbarger, Ph.D., Director, Research and Development, Good Start Genetics


CLINICAL APPLICATIONS FOR ADVANCED TESTING TECHNOLOGIES

Expanded Carrier Screening for Monogenic Disorders
Peter Benn, Professor, Department of Genetics and Genome Sciences, University of Connecticut Health Center

Oocyte Mitochondrial Function and Testing: Implications for Assisted Reproduction
Emre Seli, MD, Yale School of Medicine

Preventing the Transmission of Mitochondrial Diseases through Germline Genome Editing
Alejandro Ocampo, Ph.D., Research Associate, Gene Expression Laboratory – Belmonte, Salk Institute for Biological Studies

Silicon BiosystemsRecovery and Analysis of Single (Fetal) Cells: DEPArray Based Strategy to Examine CPM and POC
Farideh Bischoff, Ph.D., Executive Director, Scientific Affairs, Silicon Biosystems, Inc.

> Sponsored Presentation (Opportunities Available)

Numerical Chromosomal Abnormalities after PGS and D&C
Tanmoy Mukherjee, M.D., Assistant Clinical Professor, Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science, Mount Sinai Hospital

EMBRYO PREPARATION, ASSESSMENT, AND TREATMENT

Guidelines and Standards for Embryo Preparation: Embryo Culture, Growth and Biopsy Guidelines for Successful Genetic Diagnosis
Michael A. Lee, MS, TS, ELD (ABB), Director, Laboratories, Fertility Solutions

Current Status of Time-Lapse Imaging for Embryo Assessment and Selection in Clinical IVF
Catherine Racowsky, Professor, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Biology, Harvard Medical School; Director, IVF Laboratory, Brigham & Women’s Hospital

The Curious Case of Fresh versus Frozen Transfer
Denny Sakkas, Ph.D., Scientific Director, Boston IVF

Why Does IVF Fail? Finding a Single Euploid Embryo is Harder than You Think
Jamie Grifo, M.D., Ph.D., Program Director, New York University Fertility Center; Professor, New York University Langone Medical Center

BEST PRACTICES AND ETHICS

Genetic Counseling Bridges the Gap between Complex Genetic Information and Patient Care
MaryAnn W. Campion, Ed.D., MS, CGC; Director, Master’s Program in Genetic Counseling; Assistant Dean, Graduate Medical Sciences; Assistant Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Boston University School of Medicine

Ethical Issues of Next-Generation Sequencing and Beyond
Eugene Pergament, M.D., Ph.D., FACMG, Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Northwestern; Attending, Northwestern University Medical School Memorial Hospital

Closing Panel: The Future of Reproductive Genetic Diagnostics: Is Reproductive Technology Straining the Seams of Ethics?
Moderator:
Mache Seibel, M.D., Professor, OB/GYN, University of Massachusetts Medical School; Editor, My Menopause Magazine; Author, The Estrogen Window
Panelists:
Rebekah S. Zimmerman, Ph.D., FACMG, Director, Clinical Genetics, Foundation for Embryonic Competence
Denny Sakkas, Ph.D., Scientific Director, Boston IVF
Michael A. Lee, MS, TS, ELD (ABB), Director of Laboratories, Fertility Solutions
Nicholas Collins, MS, CGC, Manager, Reproductive Health Specialists, Counsyl

Arrive Early and Attend Advances in Prenatal Molecular Diagnostics – Register for Both Events and SAVE!

Prenatal Molecular Dx | Nov. 16-18 | Boston, MA

CHI, 250 First Avenue, Suite 300, Needham, MA, 02494, Tel: 781-972-5400 | Fax: 781-972-5425

 

 

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1:00PM 11/13/2014 – 10th Annual Personalized Medicine Conference at the Harvard Medical School, Boston

REAL TIME Coverage of this Conference by Dr. Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN – Director and Founder of LEADERS in PHARMACEUTICAL BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE, Boston http://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com

1:00 p.m. Panel Discussion Genomics in Prenatal and Childhood Disorders

Genomics in Prenatal and Childhood Disorders

     Moderator:

David Sweetser, M.D., Ph.D.
Unit Chief, Division of Medical Genetics; Attending Physician in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology,
Massachusetts General Hospital for Children

Genomics revolutionized medicine and genetic variation in a larger scale

Cases one on Causing Autism – mutations in a gene of synapse formation, clinical trials

Treatment: IGF1

Genetics: embryo – implant only the healthy embryo – newborn comprehensive genetics testing in the medical record integrated – Standard language of GENE-DRUG interaction not only drug-drug interaction

Potential Harms: May or may not happen disease – stigma issues

Explaining to parents the conditions is very difficult for MDs

Panelists:

3. Diana Bianchi, M.D.
Executive Director, Mother Infant Research Institute;
Vice Chair for Research and Academic Affairs,
Department of Pediatrics; Attending Geneticists and Neonatologist;
Natalie V. Zucker Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine

Medical Geneticist – Pediatrics

  • Prenatal screening and diagnosis – chromosomal abnormality – Down Syndrome, testing is more precise 70% fewer procedures to correct defects due to screening prenatally.
  • Prenatal diagnostics — patient is not in front of us, ultrasound examination, options to terminate pregnancies, genetic counseling — changed due to Genomics
  • Prenatal treatment to down syndrome before the birth – Transcriptomic approach, treat the fetus prebirth
  • Standard of care – all pregnant women – must receive from MD the option for screening for down syndrome, it is a test positive or negative
  • NOW – DNA allows to test for  fetal sex, chromosome in maternal circulation fetal and maternal genetics — Mother may have chromosomal variation
  • high false positive – DNA for Down Syndrome, 97% effective Micro duplication only 5%
  • genetics information protection act – sue prospective employer using Genome, life insurance issues
  • most data available is on Down Syndrome, of all parents informed of a fetus with Down Syndrome – 40% continues the pregnancy
  • accuracy in testing, offering choice and treatment are LEADING principles NOT elimination of a disease (i.e. down syndromes)
  • in ten years — GENOME OF EVERY FETUS TO BE SEQUENCE

for reference see Prenatal Treatment of Down’s Syndrome: a Reality?

and ref list by Dr. Bianchi

2. Holmes Morton, M.D. @ClinicSpecChild
Medical Director, Clinic for Special Children

Small population in Lancaster, PA – risk for untreatable disease 52,000 screens 4.2 millions in US are screened Target mutation analysis, diagnosis very effectively. Harrisburg, PA – small scale natural history studies

Carrier testing offered in 70s. Discourages  from marriage, culture reaction is different. Working in the community, clinical practice using exon sequencing, combine population genetics and molecular biology.Translate Genomics to Clinical, small number of risk factors

History of genetics in population important to establish treatment

Upon birth, affected newborns get matching bone marrow transplant, thus, bypass stem cells – Gene therapy is another thing

1. Benjamin Solomon, Ph.D., M.D.
Chief, Division of Medical Genomics,
Inova Translational Medicine Institute

Longer term, statistical model in asthma research,  rigorous process on patient consent, life insurance, mutation that parents also have. Consequences: actionable findings are communicated
135 Genes – sequencing for some conditions
100,000 deliveries 10% ENTER THE STUDY, CASE BY CASE BASIS O PARTICIPATE, WHO SHOULD BE TESTED

Questions from the Podium

– See more at: http://personalizedmedicine.partners.org/Education/Personalized-Medicine-Conference/Program.aspx#sthash.qGbGZXXf.dpuf

@HarvardPMConf

#PMConf

@SachsAssociates

@MGH

@MassGeneral

@TuftsMedicalCtr

@MedscapePeds

@ClinicSpecChild

@InovaHealth

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Reporter, Curator: Stephen J. Williams, Ph.D.

KJ Monohan reports in The Family History of Bowel Cancer Clinic blog, a report from the Cancer Research UK about a new program being initiated by a team consisting of The Institute of Cancer Research, The Royal Marsden, Illumina Inc and the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics to screen ovarian and breast cancer patients for genes known to increase cancer risk.

The program Mainstreaming Cancer Genetics Programme will evaluate 97 known cancer predisposition genes in breast and ovarian cancer patients (using the TruSight Cancer Panel; see below for description and link).

A link to the full story can be found here:

New scheme to routinely test patients for inherited cancer genes.

The program will complement Cancer Research UK’s own stratified medicine program, which aims to identify driver mutations (mutations in genes {usually tumor suppressor genes} which drive (responsible for) the initiation and growth of a patient’s tumor. For descriptions of driver mutations of tumors please see some articles posted on this site such as:

Rewriting the Mathematics of Tumor Growth; Teams Use Math Models to Sort Drivers from Passengers

Winning Over Cancer Progression: New Oncology Drugs to Suppress Passengers Mutations vs. Driver Mutations

 

Writer’s commentary: As I had commented on this posting, 10% of breast and ovarian cancers are considered hereditary, meaning germline mutations exist in cancer risk genes (notably BRCA1/2 for breast /ovarian) and the offspring who inherit these mutant genes from carriers have a greatly enhanced risk to develop cancer in their lifetime. Although not in the scope of this post, I will curate, in a future post, research on the identity and relative risk for various gene mutations for breast/ovarian cancer risk.

TruSight Cancer Panel

A description of Illumina’s TruSight Cancer Panel is given below:

Targeting genes previously linked to a predisposition towards cancer.

  • Developed in collaboration with Professor Nazneen Rahman and team at the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), London
  • Targets 94 known genes and 284 SNPs associated with a predisposition towards cancer

TruSight Cancer includes genes associated with both common (e.g., breast, colorectal) and rare cancers. In addition, the set includes 284 SNPs found to correlate with cancer through genome-wide association studies (GWAS). Content selection was based on expert curation of the scientific literature and other high-quality resources.

The TruSight Cancer sequencing panel provides custom oligos targeting identified regions of interest. Sufficient product is supplied for four enrichment reactions. TruSight Cancer is compatible with TruSight Rapid Capture and is supported on the MiSeq, NextSeq, and HiSeq sequencing systems.

 

The authors note that in the US and UK, genetic testing is performed at a genetics clinic, at the request of physicians and/or the individual. With the new program the patient’s cancer doctor can manage the genetic testing, giving the oncologist access to critical genetic information which can help in treatment options and family risk assessments.

Some cancer centers already have integrated a genetic counseling department among their services. These departments also act as Family Risk Assessment Programs. A few family risk assessment programs which deal with breast/ovarian cancer are given below:

Fox Chase Cancer Center Risk Assessment Program

The Mariann and Robert MacDonald Women’s Cancer Risk Evaluation Center at Penn Medicine

Massachusetts General Hospital Breast and Ovarian Cancer Genetics and Risk Assessment Program

Breast & Ovarian Risk Evaluation Program at University of Michigan

The Breast & Ovarian Cancer Prevention Program at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Center for Cancer Genetics and Prevention

Cancer Risk Program are offered through the UCSF Medical Center

These are only a few cancer centers in the US which provide comprehensive counseling and testing.

 

Other posts on this site about Cancer Risk and Genetic Testing include:

Testing for Multiple Genetic Mutations via NGS for Patients: Very Strong Family History of Breast & Ovarian Cancer, Diagnosed at Young Ages, & Negative on BRCA Test

(discussions on Angela Jolie’s experiences and issues through genetic testing and decision)

Host – Tumor Interactions during Cancer Therapy – Dr. Yuval Shaked’s Lab @Technion

(discussion by assistant professor on new paradigms in cancer treatment, detection)

Foundation Medicine reported 4,702 Clinical Tests in Q1, 715 were the FoundationOne Heme Cancer Test, average Reimbursement of $3,400 per Test

(report on success and use of Foundation Medicine’s cancer genetic testing kit)

Efficacy of Ovariectomy in Presence of BRCA1 vs BRCA2 and the Risk for Ovarian Cancer

Cancer Biomarkers for Companion Diagnostics

(Scientists from around the world gathered to share some of their newest biomarker research at the “Oncology Biomarkers Conference”)

Invitae been Sued for BRCA1/2 Patent Violation by Myriad Genetics

(legal problems may hinder the availability of BRCA1/2 testing)

Ethical Concerns in Personalized Medicine: BRCA1/2 Testing in Minors and Communication of Breast Cancer Risk

(discussion about issues mothers have informing their daughters about test results)

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Genetic Testing for Women at Risk of Cancer

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari PhD, RN

Published: May 16, 2013

To the Editor:

Opinion Twitter Logo.

For Op-Ed, follow@nytopinion and to hear from the editorial page editor, Andrew Rosenthal, follow@andyrNYT.

In her thoughtful article about her choice to undergo a double mastectomy, Angelina Jolie said the cost of genetic testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations “remains an obstacle for many women” (“My Medical Choice,” Op-Ed, May 14).

Our BRACAnalysis test has been used by more than a million women to assess their risk of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.

The test remains widely reimbursed by insurance companies, with more than 95 percent of at-risk women covered and with an average out-of-pocket cost of about $100. And, thanks to preventive care provisions in the Affordable Care Act, many patients can receive BRACAnalysis testing with no out-of-pocket costs.

For patients in need, Myriad offers a patient assistance program that offers testing at reduced costs or free of charge.

PETER MELDRUM

President and Chief Executive

Myriad Genetics

Salt Lake City, May 16, 2013

To the Editor:

Jolie’s Disclosure of Preventive Mastectomy Highlights Dilemma” (front page, May 15) discusses Angelina Jolie’s decision to undergo prophylactic surgery after testing positive for a BRCA1 mutation. It should be noted that not all hereditary breast and ovarian cancer is attributable to mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2.

An alternative dilemma exists when a patient has a very strong family history of breast and ovarian cancer, especially diagnosed at young ages, and the BRCA test is negative.

The patient is left wondering what to do next. These patients should consider a new method of testing for multiple genetic mutations via next-generation sequencing, which can often be ordered as part of a research protocol in academic centers.

SUSAN KLUGMAN

Bronx, May 15, 2013

The writer, a clinical geneticist, is director of reproductive genetics at Montefiore Medical Center and an associate professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/17/opinion/genetic-testing-for-women-at-risk-of-cancer.html?src=recg

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Genomics in Medicine – Tomorrow’s Promise

Reporter: Larry H Bernstein, MD, FCAP

Genomics in Medicine: Today’s Issues, Tomorrow’s Promise

KM Beima-Sofie, EH Dorfman, JM Kocarnik, MY Laurino
Feb 13, 2013 Medscape Genomic Medicine

What do you think about these issues before reading this piece?

The Broader Implications of Genetic Sciences
The 62nd annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG), which was held in San Francisco, California, in November 2012, featured a diverse array of research in basic, clinical, and population science contributed by human geneticists across the globe.
Genetic Sequencing Moves Beyond the Laboratory
Several presentations at the meeting focused on the lessons learned from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Exome Sequencing Project. The goal of the project was to
  • develop and validate a cost-effective and high-throughput sequencing technology
  • capable of analyzing the DNA sequence in the exome, which
  • consists of all protein-coding regions in the human genome.
At previous ASHG meetings, presentations and discussions largely focused on
  • the development of sequencing technology and on applications of this technology for research.
Now that sequencing is an increasing reality, this year’s conference featured presentations on
  • what to do with the resulting information, in both research and clinical settings.
Issues discussed include the challenges of
  • interpreting sequence data,
  • determining which results should be returned to various parties, and
  • the potential impacts of different testing techniques.
Results from the NHLBI Exome Sequencing Project and other projects are fueling the discussion on
legal issues surrounding gene patenting, a hotly debated topic that is currently under consideration by the US Supreme Court. During a plenary session on gene discovery and patent law,
Of particular focus was the lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union against Myriad Genetics,
  • contesting the company’s patent of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.
At present, Myriad has exclusive rights to offer clinical genetic testing for these genes; one of the main arguments of the lawsuit is
  • that gene patents hinder the pursuit of confirmatory tests and limit the testing options available to women.
DNAPrint Genomics

DNAPrint Genomics (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Exome sequencing workflow: Part 2. Ta...

English: Exome sequencing workflow: Part 2. Target exons are enriched, eluted and then amplified by ligation-mediated PCR. Amplified target DNA is then ready for high-throughput sequencing. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cost per Megabase of DNA Sequence (Why biologi...

Cost per Megabase of DNA Sequence (Why biologists panic about compute) (Photo credit: dullhunk)

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