Laura Hercher, Genetic Counselor, Sarah Lawrence College
Nathan Pearson, Genomicist
0:00 FDA decision gives new life to DTC testing
9:02 Grail’s big blood mammogram study
11:06 Ancient meta genomics
16:20 Two cautionary tales
For genomics nerds, April 2017 will be remembered as the date when the FDA adopted a more open policy towards 23andMe and direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing. What does this decision mean, and just where is the FDA drawing the line? A genetic counselor herself, Laura found the decision “head turning.”
“There’s lots of reasons why some genetic counselors are not going to be thrilled to deal with everyone’s 23andMe results,” she says.
For the “cool new studies” section of today’s show, Laura is excited about a research project announced by Grail, a spinoff from Illumina working on a pan cancer screening test. And Nathan points out that the trend for researchers to look back at ancient DNA sharpened this month with two new studies that not only open up the possibilities for historians and archeologists but also have relevance to human health longterm.
“We’re getting much better at doing it,” he says. “So look for more of this ancient meta genomics where we can find little fragments of DNA outside of cells but intact in sites like soil. They’re very diverse, but we're starting to figure out really what was going on at a place some time in the past."
We finish with a couple stories that are giving pause to researchers working on gene therapy and immunotherapy.
It’s commentators Nathan Pearson and Laura Hercher joining Theral to talk genomics for April.