BRCA testing

Lisa Alderson on Her Telegenetics Firm, Genome Medical, Also Speaks to the DTC Downturn

Lisa Alderson has been helping to build genetic testing companies for a while. In 2016 she co-founded her own company, Genome Medical, a tele-genomics firm to help patients and providers understand genetic testing results.

Anyone in the genetic testing industry will know that Genome Medical’s offering addresses a burning need. As Lisa remarks in today’s show, genetics is complicated.

“Not all tests are created equal,” she says. “There are big distinctions between the tests available on the market. And it can become quite confusing for the average individual to understand what is even being tested.”

Lisa is partly referring here to the DTC market versus the medical testing market. She gives the example of the BRCA genes. Some genetic testing companies do a very “light” testing, some companies go deeper, and some even deeper. When consumers/patients get one of these tests, do they know which one?

What does Lisa think of the recent downturn in DTC testing and the move by some of the DTC companies to pivot over into health testing? What other trends is she seeing from her vantage point as an educator in the field? And how savvy is the average American when it comes to genomics today?

Who Is Misleading Whom About Precision Medicine?

This month the New York Times put out an opinion article that was a reprint from Kaiser Health News written by Liz Szabo positing big doubts about the project of precision medicine. For the Times, it came with the title, “Are We Being Misled About Precision Medicine?” Unfortunately this piece does exactly what it warns against. It misleads.

Putting the headline in question form, rather than declaratory, reveals an insecure thesis. Why not just say it?