UK doctors told to ignore consumer genetic tests

Latest articles

Cellino bags $80 million to autonomise stem cell therapy manufacturing

Leaps by Bayer leads $80m Series A to enable Cellino to significantly expand patient access to stem cell-based therapies. Cellino Biotech, Inc, an autonomous stem cell...

“World’s first” cultural-matching app for care sector launches

Care receivers can be paired with carer based on religious understanding and culture thanks to AI tech developed during pandemic. A graduate has created what...

Biotech LyGenesis expands its liver regeneration tech

A new peer-reviewed paper demonstrates the success of using fat-associated lymphoid clusters as expandable niches for ectopic liver regeneration. LyGenesis, a clinical-stage biotech developing cell...

NURO embarks on funding round for neurotech communication system

World’s first multimodal neurotech operating system from NURO allows you to communicate using just your brain. DISCLOSURE: Longevity.Technology (a brand of First Longevity Limited) has...

Most read

New supplement slows aging and promotes weight loss

Sugar-proof your way to a longer life. Reducing AGEs to slow aging and increase weight loss – how one supplement is fighting the war...

An antiaging supplement that also reduces appetite?

One for the AGEs: Juvify signs IP licensing deal with Buck Institute for GLYLO antiaging supplement that aims to reduce glycation. A researcher at the...

Resveratrol – the small molecule with big antiaging ideas

When it comes to antiaging molecules, we can learn a thing or two from plants. As so often in natural world, plants have a few...

Editor's picks

Cellino bags $80 million to autonomise stem cell therapy manufacturing

Leaps by Bayer leads $80m Series A to enable Cellino to significantly expand patient access to stem cell-based therapies. Cellino Biotech, Inc, an autonomous stem cell...

“World’s first” cultural-matching app for care sector launches

Care receivers can be paired with carer based on religious understanding and culture thanks to AI tech developed during pandemic. A graduate has created what...

Biotech LyGenesis expands its liver regeneration tech

A new peer-reviewed paper demonstrates the success of using fat-associated lymphoid clusters as expandable niches for ectopic liver regeneration. LyGenesis, a clinical-stage biotech developing cell...

Click the globe for translations.

Royal College of General Practitioners guidance places significant doubt on consumer genetic testing.

Consumer interest in genetic testing has grown in popularity in recent years, and sales of testing kits are booming, with the market set to hit $6.36 billion by 2028 [1]. Genetic testing kits are intended to provide consumers with information about their DNA, ancestry, future health and Longevity, without having to go to their doctor.

Guidance on direct-to-consumer genomic testing published in a joint statement by The Royal College of General Practitioners and the British Society for Genetic Medicine stated [2]:

“… health professionals should exercise caution when asked to offer, or provide, clinical expertise about the results of Direct to Consumer (DTC) genomic or genetic testing. The analytical validity, sensitivity and clinical utility of such testing may be much lower than is popularly perceived. For certain types of DTC results, there is a very high chance of false positive or false negative results.”

The guidance should be of interest to investors and potential investors into companies offering such services. Companies such as 23andMe, which received $300m investment from GlaxoSmithKline in July 2018, and Color Genomics are two of the leading players in this sector, now being joined by a host of new start-ups focused on consumer genetic testing [3].

The consumer testing kits promise to unravel the secrets behind a person’s DNA from a biological sample such as saliva, which is then sent to the company for analysis. Some companies claim to provide insight into risks of particular diseases, while others go a step further and claim tests that can reveal information on personality and talent.

Some may see consumer genetic tests as a potential preventive measure against disease and a way to get useful information without having to visit numerous medical professionals. However, understanding and extrapolating the genetic data and its meaning is a complex process and consumers may end up re-directing their results to physicians to help decipher them. Most consumer genetic tests do not sequence the whole DNA, they look for specific variants or lack thereof in the genetic code. The results can often show false positives, presenting elements that are not actually present in the person’s DNA. [4]

The official guidance goes on to say:

“Gene variants giving information regarding single gene conditions or predispositions: examples may be variants in breast cancer related genes (BRCA1 or BRCA2), or the Cystic Fibrosis gene (CFTR). Results may be:

  • False negatives: The genes may have many different types of variation within them, yet often DTC testing only looks for a small proportion. Thus testing will miss a large proportion of these, for example in the region of 80% of known BRCA1/2 mutations are missed by commercial companies who generally only analyse three of the many different possible mutations.
  • False positives: DTC tests that use a “SNP chip ” [single nucleotide polymorphism] technique [used by the majority of companies in operation in 2019] are very likely to categorise rare variants wrongly2. Thus 85-95% of BRCA1/2 variants or Bowel cancer gene variants for example, will be false positives or artefacts. The impact of false positives will likely place increasing demand on the health service which will need to spend considerable time and money counselling patients and reanalysing their samples.”

In addition to questions about the quality control for consumer genetic tests, there is also the question of how safe a consumer’s data is. As vital personal health information is collected, it is important to know what happens to the data after the results are provided. Last year, a Fast Company report indicated that 23AndMe and Ancestry were being investigated by the Federal Trade Commission over policies regarding data security and personal information sharing [5].

[1] https://prn.to/2Qa5p9l
[2] https://bit.ly/2O3uP68
[3] https://craft.co/23andme/competitors
[4] https://www.bmj.com/content/367/bmj.l5688
[5] https://bit.ly/2CDevDI

 

 

 

 

 

Salvinija Roznyte
Staff Writer Salvinija Roznyte is a writer and journalist based in London. She graduated in 2018 with a Bachelor's degree majoring in Writing and Journalism with a minor in Film Studies. She is interested in the way modern medical technology changes and shapes our world.

Most popular

New supplement slows aging and promotes weight loss

Sugar-proof your way to a longer life. Reducing AGEs to slow aging and increase weight loss – how one supplement is fighting the war...

An antiaging supplement that also reduces appetite?

One for the AGEs: Juvify signs IP licensing deal with Buck Institute for GLYLO antiaging supplement that aims to reduce glycation. A researcher at the...

Resveratrol – the small molecule with big antiaging ideas

When it comes to antiaging molecules, we can learn a thing or two from plants. As so often in natural world, plants have a few...

Sugar-proof your health with the GLYLO weight loss and antiaging supplement

Move your New Year's resolution up a gear with GLYLO, a double-action supplement that can increase weight loss while also slowing aging. Choosing an effective...

Related articles

Cellino bags $80 million to autonomise stem cell therapy manufacturing

Leaps by Bayer leads $80m Series A to enable Cellino to significantly expand patient access to stem cell-based therapies. Cellino Biotech, Inc, an autonomous stem cell...

NURO embarks on funding round for neurotech communication system

World’s first multimodal neurotech operating system from NURO allows you to communicate using just your brain. DISCLOSURE: Longevity.Technology (a brand of First Longevity Limited) has...

Mental illness drug discovery company Neurai Life Sciences launches

AI will drive discovery of innovative small molecules and next generation therapies to treat mental health disorders. Wuhan, a bioceutical company focused on alternative plant-based...

Altos Labs lands $3 billion to further cellular rejuvenation programming

Altos Labs launches with the goal to transform medicine through cellular rejuvenation programming. Altos Labs launched today as a new biotechnology company dedicated to unravelling...

StarkAge secures 2 million euros for senescence targeting therapy

Funding from Bpifrance's Deeptech program will drive development of company’s immunotherapy approach targeting cellular senescence in age-related disease. French biotech startup StarkAge Therapeutics today announced...

    Subscribe to our newsletter