Invitae has launched a free genetic testing program to help connect prostate cancer patients to earlier diagnosis and treatments. The program also offers eligible patients free genetic counseling to help them understand their test results so that they can make more informed decisions about medical care.
Called Detect Hereditary Prostate Cancer, the program is available to men in the U.S. and Canada who cannot rely on insurance and have low risk prostate cancer (stage II) or intermediate to very high risk (stages III or IV). Information on how to enroll in the program is available here.
“Genetic testing can offer tremendous benefits to patients, clinicians and the broader medical community by expediting diagnosis, facilitating earlier interventions, accelerating clinical trial recruitment, and providing real-world data insights into many devastating diseases,” Robert Nussbaum, MD, chief medical officer of Invitae, said in a press release.
Mutations in DNA-repair genes and others that increase the risk for hereditary prostate cancer are found in up to 10% of patients with metastatic or advanced prostate cancer, and 3% of patients with localized disease.
Understanding a patient’s mutations allows doctors to pinpoint more suitable treatments, or to decide whether the patient is eligible for clinical trials. Doctors can also better monitor for other cancers caused by the same mutations, and for relatives that might carry similar mutations.
The newly established program offers genetic testing for a comprehensive panel of genes associated with inherited cancers, and all genes known to cause prostate cancer. These include the ATM, BRCA1, BRCA2, CHEK2, EPCAM, HOXB13, MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, NBN, PMS2, and TP53 genes. It also tests for variants in seven other genes, which preliminary evidence suggests are linked to prostate cancer.
Tested patients will then be eligible for genetic counselling to help them understand their test results and the implications of those results for them and their relatives.
Patients can enrol in the program through their clinician, and no patient-identifiable information will be shared with the genetic test sponsors.
“Genetic information isn’t used as much or as early as it should be. Our goal is to help facilitate earlier testing by removing barriers of access and cost to high quality genetic testing in those areas where its use can speed diagnosis and improve outcomes,” said Nussbaum.
In addition to the prostate cancer program, Invitae is also providing free genetic testing and counseling for three other conditions: muscular dystrophy, cardiomyopathy, and lysosomal storage disorders.
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