Thanks to today's U.S. Supreme Court decision opening the door to greater access to genetic medicine by American patients and their health care providers, testing for genes specifically linked to breast, ovarian and other cancers will now be more widely available and at a lower cost than ever before.
DNATraits, a division of Houston-based genomics and genetics testing company Gene By Gene, Ltd., announced today that it will offer testing for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes in the United States for $995. Prior to today's unanimous Supreme Court ruling, when exorbitant licensing fees kept DNATraits and others from offering BRCA gene tests in the United States, the cost for such tests was around $4,000.
"We're pleased to make this important testing more widely available and accessible in the United States," said Gene By Gene President Bennett Greenspan. "Our highly automated CLIA-registered lab and efficient processes enable us to make genetic and genomic testing more affordable and accessible to more individuals, in the U.S. and worldwide. And that's our company's mission, in a nutshell."
The company's announcement about the tests, which gained national attention when actress Angelina Jolie courageously revealed in May that being a BRCA1 carrier was among the factors in her decision to have a preventive double mastectomy, comes after today's Supreme Court ruling in "Association For Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics."
"We commend the Supreme Court for opening the door to greater technological innovation and access to genetic tools that promise to save and improve the quality of human lives in the United States," Greenspan added. "It's critical that as an industry we are able to continue to engage in healthy competition to drive down the costs of these tests – because as more individuals have access to and undergo them, the more information we'll have about many serious diseases that eventually may lead to cures."
DNATraits has processed testing for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes for individuals living outside the U.S. since 2012. Those genes are processed using traditional Sanger DNA sequencing, which is considered the gold standard for DNA analysis, at the company's Genomic Research Center in Houston, a CLIA-registered lab which has processed more than 5 million discrete DNA tests from more than 700,000 individuals and organizations globally.
In addition to the BRCA gene tests, DNATraits offers a pre-natal array that covers 111 population specific diseases, as well as other not population-specific diseases, like Duchene Muscular Dystrophy.