Journal study shows that clinical genetic testing has its flaws

Dr. David Agus, a cancer doctor at the Westside Cancer Center in LA, recently spoke on the CBS morning news show and said that a large study done for an article in the New England Journal of Medicine found that many genetic tests offered to patients have flawed information. He said that in recent years there have been many new advances in detecting human genetic variations that have the potential to be useful in determining the genetic risk for people getting diseases The study found that patients who had genetic tests done might find a range of different opinions about what the data actually means. There was a clear lack of consistency of lab interpretations about the meaning of the data. Dr. Agus said that only about 50% of disease is determined by genetic variation and the other half is determined by external factors such is life style, where you live in the world, your type of work, what you eat, and so on. He said it’s better to not have a genetic, rather than having a flawed genetic done. The study gave an example of a woman that had a genetic test to detect breast cancer came back negative. However a short time later she came down with breast cancer and had fewer treatment options. The bottom line to genetic testing in the clinic today is that patients should get second opinions. The FDA    does not currently regulate many genetic tests because the tests might be under CLIA rules.

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