Thursday, April 16, 2009

Death Knell to DTC Genomics?

I was sent this article 6 times in the last 6 hours by friends and colleagues.

What's the article? "Genes Show Limited Value in Predicting Diseases"

I say deathblow to the DTC Genomics, because this article points out the issues surrounding using this limited information......

"This method, called a genomewide association study, has proved technically successful despite many skeptics’ initial doubts. But it has been disappointing in that the kind of genetic variation it detects has turned out to explain surprisingly little of the genetic links to most diseases."

What are the majority of reports you can get from 23andME or Navigenics or DecodeMe?


Not that there aren't any great genome wide associations......I think of Age Related Macular Degeneration for one.......but for every great study, there are 20 crappy studies. Which, to the unskilled observer could be made to look just as powerful. And then Silicon Valley Style Hyped, to make it to market.

I repeat, the utility of GWAS studies in Public Health NEED to be studied. Just like they are with the Coriell Personalized Medicine Collaborative.

But selling this information to people at a cost of 400 to 2500???? Sketchy at best!

From the NYT article...

"These companies are probably not performing any useful service at present, said David B. Goldstein, a Duke University geneticist who wrote one of the commentaries appearing in the journal.
“With only a few exceptions, what the genomics companies are doing right now is recreational genomics,” Dr. Goldstein said in an interview. “The information has little or in many cases no clinical relevance.”

Which is why I am aligning myself with some good People from Long Island who have been shouting this from the rooftops for about it.

A great example is this perspectives article precisely about this topic in the New England Journal of Medicine this week!!! (Only 3 this time Daniel)

Useless DTC Genomics? Not exactly. Someone is making money and has some use for it.......

The Sherpa Says: A good clinician saw this coming from a mile away. Why couldn't Venture Capital? Or the Public? Or the Scientists???? Funny, I just gave the same lecture to medical underwriters for the life insurance industry on the 14th,,,,,,

1 comment:

RWW said...

Steve- I'm not sure I fully agree with your overall conclusion of "Death Knell to DTC Genomics". 23andMe is not going anywhere. In reading Goldstein's NEJM perspective, and in anticipation of an impending $1,000 genome, it seems to me that DTC will simply add rare variants to the mix in their customer's reports. We've already heard they are gearing up for the next phase- whole genome sequencing. You seem to have ruled out DTC capability to manage this feat. Perhaps you were even hoping someone would raise this point.