(Sergey and Anne, divorced now)
I have not posted in forever. Before I used to post on novel efforts for Personalized Medicine I thought would be promising. Some of those are coming closer, like CardioDX or HCV genotypic treatment.
I also would post on things I thought would stall and distract us. One of the biggest culprits to this in my humble opinion was the model of Direct to Consumer testing that offered medical test results.
Why did I opine on this? Why was I so concerned? In 2007 I stared at Linda Avey and I saw the total lack of concern to duty for the noble calling. I also saw a lack of concern for patient lives. 23andMe repeatedly have incorrect testing results, their desire to use a database for genomic patents, their desire to end around research ethics by first doing research without an IRB. This information prompted me to write a scathing warning in Nature Biotechnology in May of 2009. "In need of a reality Check" serves as a reminder that mega-lord Tech companies are dedicated to profit, not to the hippocratic oath. Not that I begrudge them for that. I just feel my country should contemplate what a company should be doing in the human care and healthcare space.
When asked what is the duty of a DTC company to offer follow up or change of a variant of uncertain significance or interpretation. Joanna Mountain looked at Linda Avey, Linda nodded and Joanna said "We don't have a duty to follow up!"
I was incredulous and countered this assertion. I said, as a physician when I do genetic testing, I have a duty to follow up. Dietrich Stephan from Navigenics said "We have a subscription model which will do this"
Navigenics is now dead. Why? They weren't funded by Google. Let me tell you something about the company that is now 1000 USD per share. They are dedicated to bringing the future. This is valuable.
What is scary? The future they are bringing is THEIR future. The companies they fund, like 23andMe and their CEO "Forbes' most daring" to bring about what they THINK we all should be doing and thinking and gobbledeegook of a terms of service states these things!
As a business it is brilliant. As an ethical company to grow mankind.....well, not so much IMHO.
Now the evidence I missed. 23andMe a Google funded company has applied for Patents that cover creating a master race according to parent specifications via preimplantation genetic diagnosis. Not rare, fatal diseases. Rather, eye color, hair color, height. How can they do this? You have given up your genetic privacy! Even Venture Beat mentions is. Heck, I wonder how many Genomes were given up to the NSA via PRISM.
I didn't believe it when I read it but then I went and did a patent search. It is indeed correct. US Patent No. 8543339
So when you are spammed with the heavy amount of tweeting ads that @23andme is pumping out or the ads on FoxNews (Rupert Murdoch investor?) and other channels, think about what my warning. When hoping that Google or 23andMe will keep their customers safe and healthy, don't hold your breath. While physicians have taken an oath to first do no harm, Technology companies nor the "Internet" have taken no such oath!
The Sherpa Says: Do we want an America that grants 23andMe patents for creating Master Races? Really?