IT’S TIME FOR ALL CLINICAL LABS AND ANATOMIC PATHOLOGY GROUPS to pay closer attention to the advances in genetic medicine and precision medicine. Events are moving even faster than most experts have predicted.
As you will read on pages 3-4, two innovative health networks are on the verge of offering sophisticated genetic tests to patients visiting their primary care clinics. Both Geisinger Health and Sanford Health, of Danville, Pa., and Sioux Falls, S.D., respectively, have announced plans to offer such gene sequencing services in coming months.
THE DARK REPORT predicts there will be a swift response to this development by other innovative health networks. That will happen for two reasons. One is because of the desire of some institutions to always be seen as at the cutting edge of modern medicine. The second is the ongoing cascade of new research findings into the workings of the human genome.
Consider cancer care as the model. Today, a cancer patient is diagnosed using a very different array of lab tests than just five years ago. The number of relevant genetic mutations and companion cancer drugs is increasing at a remarkable pace. Survival rates for patients with certain types of cancers are climbing.
In parallel with this progress in oncology, something similar is happening in the field of pharmacogenomics. There is a continuous stream of peer-reviewed studies that demonstrate how certain genetic sequences can be used to predict the benefit an individual patient will get from a specific therapeutic drug, what dose would be most effective, and whether the patient might experience negative side effects from that drug.
But all this new research and evidence is only half the story. The other half is the ongoing improvements in the technologies of gene sequencing and software used to analyze the data. This means that the speed of sequencing, the accuracy, and the cost of sequencing are all improving at a pace that will make it easier for more health networks, hospitals, and local clinical laboratories to offer state-of-the-art gene sequencing services in support of clinical care, even in primary care settings.
These are reasons why your lab should update its strategy for precision medicine. It is also why we can confidently say, “Gene sequencing and precision medicine are coming soon to a doctor’s office near you!”