Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp, two massive clinical laboratories that are normal rivals are working together on one of the most promising projects to date. The companies are working to create a genetic test for breast and ovarian cancers that would only require a test with saliva. This change would be significant given the fact that tests are typically very expensive, and difficult to obtain. This is a problem that has plagued the medical community as a whole in the U.S., as many patients who do not have the right type of medical insurance are left without coverage and unable to get these types of tests completed.
The test works with two specific risk genes, which are known in the medical community as BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. While these two labs are working together to create the right test – Color Genomics, a startup formed by former Google executive Orthman Laraki, and Elad Gil, are working with pathologists to put together a “democratic” solution to gene testing. That means continuing the push to make it more affordable.
Interestingly, this is something that has been spurred by recent outcry by Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie Pitt, who had her ovaries removed after finding out that she carried the genes that are “at risk.” It’s a precaution that some have said is unnecessary, but at the same time – is something that should be a part of the typical medical routine for women. At least, that is the argument to this point – and it’s one that makes a lot of sense for the medical community, as well as the general public.
The group also pointed out that in the current system less than half of the women who actually carried the mutated gene would even qualify for the traditionally required coverage that would be necessary to actually take care of the testing. That’s something that ultimately is an issue and needs to be addressed.