Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Excuse Me? Harvard and Navigenics? WTF?

So I was blown away when I read this juicy little tid bit from Genome Web.

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Navigenics and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston announced today that they will collaborate on training physicians in personal genomic testing.

Amazing! I had spoken with Mike Murray up there a while ago and have neen involved in his training curriculum with CMEs for providers. I have always interpreted his opinion on the DTC companies to be suspect of what the hell the companies are doing.

In fact when we, Mike and I presented together at the Association of Program Directors in Internal Medicine meeting in 2008 in New Orleans I assumed that their department as well as he didn't much support DTC genomic testing.

Which is why the BID move had me puzzled, so I emailed him. But I also read further.....

As part of the program, residents will be given the opportunity to have their own genomes analyzed through Navigenics' consumer genomics services.

"We believe that genetics and genomics will be critical to the future of health care," Mark Boguski, of BIDMC's Department of Pathology and the Center for Biomedical Informatics at Harvard Medical School, said in a statement. "Training our residents on the leading genetic services and technologies will be essential to this future."

Ahh, I see. It is not the Genetics department who is involved with this. It is the pathologists, you know, the physicians who look at microscopic slides and run the clinical laboratories who are behind this.........

This Makes all the sense in the world now, non clinical geneticists teaching doctors about clinical genetics and how to use a self-avowed NONCLINICAL, NONMEDICAL test to learn medical genomics.....

What the hell is Harvard thinking? I wonder if they received a nice endowment gift from the VCs who fund Navi????

So let me get this straight, Harvard Medical School sponsored Medical Residency at Beth Israel Deaconess is using a NONCLINICALLY validated test, from a company who states that the test should NOT BE USED FOR MEDICINE, to teach MEDICAL residents. To quote the plan

"Among the specific goals of the program are fostering an understanding of issues related to the evaluation of direct-to-consumer genotyping services and familiarizing physicians with the interpretation of genomic information and its correlation with personal medical and health information."

Have they lost their minds???? Shouldn't this be something that the clinical genetics department should be teaching? I wonder if Vance received a faculty position for this horse$h!t?

The Sherpa Says: I knew that this wouldn't come from the clinical genetics side. I hope they don't have any fingerprints on this one.....But my guess is Raju is involved in this one some how.....Now Harvard is confusing what is Important.


Anonymous said...

Proof reading is essential to critical commentary and opinion pieces.

Molecular Creativity said...

HMS has a department of genetics, BWH has a department of medicine and a division of genetics but no department,I think?
Insurance companies determine what is medicine in USA, not doctors and insurance companies are going to pay for genetic data, they made the decision that this is medicine not the DTC marketing people. DTC is providing a new type of education with the internet providing some information, quality of info varies but it is growing and can not easily be ignored and I think it is a good thing overall to communicate/dialogue about these rapid developments in genetic knowledge. A nice article by David Freedman, illuminates some facts from fiction.

Steve Murphy MD said...


Yeah, a bizdev magazine versus NEJM

I choose Muin......

Molecular Creativity said...

My point was/is that genetic info is in Time magazine, Forbes, Business week and Fast times because it is of general interest and no longer restricted to genetic journals. NEJM is read by a few of us, restricted readership due to jargon, and I do/would use it as a reference. I would not send NEJM articles to my relatives to read/understand new genetic information (NEJM has been slow on the subject of genetic medicine-some think). This tidal wave of genomic data/information now comes in many flavors and not restricted to professional journals. The CDC does best with infectious pathogens, that said Dr. Muin Khoury is doing a great service to all stakeholders. The message that we need to move slowly in the area of genetic testing due to false positives/additional tests requested due to results and for most people no good treatment available. There is a lack of "significant" value for most genetic tests. There is little medicine available for many/most "genetic" diseases. Human genetics has taught the community about novel mechanisms regarding disease processes/pathology. Surgery is one option for a BRCA1/BRCA2 result but seems primitive as a medical solution.