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Genetic Testing Coming To a Drugstore Near You

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the your-privacy-is-assured dept.

Biotech 110

Hugh Pickens writes "The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Walgreens is slated to begin selling genetic-testing kits priced from $20 to $30 apiece that can tell people whether they're likely to get breast cancer, Alzheimer's disease, become obese, or suffer from a range of other maladies. However, to get the results of various tests, shoppers will have to fork over an additional $79 for drug-response results, $179 for 'pre-pregnancy planning' results, $179 for health condition results, or $249 for a combination of the three. Pathway Genomics and other companies already offer such tests online, but Walgreens will be the first brick-and-mortar retailer to sell them. FDA spokeswoman Karen Riley says Pathway overstepped its bounds when it announced its plans to market the tests directly to the consumer at 6,000 of Walgreen's 7,500 stores and wants Pathway Genomics to submit data showing that its tests give accurate results. 'The claims have limitations based on existing science,' says Riley, 'and consumers should not be making important medical and lifestyle decisions based on these tests without first consulting a health-care professional.' Walgreen responded that FDA clearance is not required to sell the kit in its stores; and anyway, the drugstore chain already sells other diagnostic and testing products such as pregnancy tests, paternity tests, and drug tests."

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Pathway Genomics Agreement (5, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32180854)

Here's some required reading [pathway.com] if you are contemplating this. Most importantly:

5. Services Limitations. The Services provided by Pathway Genomics are solely for research and educational purposes and uses. Although based on scientific research, the Services, including all information about genetic findings and probabilities, have not been fully validated and shall not be relied upon by you or any other person to diagnose, treat or prevent any disease or health condition. You should consult with a physician or other appropriate health care professional regarding the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of any disease or health condition.

Emphasis mine. I knew that'd be in there along with point 13 (the indemnity clause). On the plus side they've got this:

9. Proprietary Rights. You own all Genetic Information derived from your saliva or other biological material. Genetic Information means the As, Ts, Cs, and Gs at particular locations in your genome.

If you submit or post content on the Pathway Genomics website or otherwise using the Services, (a) you retain any copyright rights that you hold in this content, and (b) you grant Pathway Genomics a nonexclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide license to copy, modify, translate, publicly display and distribute this content. This license grants Pathway Genomics the right to use this content to provide the Services and to provide this content to other companies and individuals affiliated with Pathway Genomics. You warrant to Pathway Genomics that you have the right, power and authority to grant this license.

Of course we all would think that would go without saying but you never know these days and in bullet 12 they follow that up with you have permission to send them this sample. I shudder to think that someone might grab some of their significant other's saliva in order to see what their genetic tests reveal and call the whole thing off based on the fact that their offspring would have a 5% higher chance of getting breast cancer according to The Super Deluxe Cancer Finder 3000.

Re:Pathway Genomics Agreement (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32180902)

I wonder what "other companies and individuals" are affiliated with Pathway Genomics?

Re:Pathway Genomics Agreement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32181174)

I wonder what "other companies and individuals" are affiliated with Pathway Genomics?

Insurance companies, head hunting agencies, 3-letter government agencies, your employer, etc.

Re:Pathway Genomics Agreement (2, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 4 years ago | (#32185936)

Insurance companies, head hunting agencies, 3-letter government agencies, your employer, etc.

In short, anyone they choose to share it with .... nonexclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide license to copy, modify, translate, publicly display and distribute this content is pretty much everyone.

Re:Pathway Genomics Agreement (4, Interesting)

ledow (319597) | more than 4 years ago | (#32180910)

I think the biggest problem with your last comment is that it should be a good thing... if you are with someone "significant" who calls the whole thing off because of things like that, then you're much, much better off without them, surely? More dangerous would be something like you sending off a workmate's saliva to see if they have HIV and then using that information to force them out of a job, etc. That's the sort of casual mis-use that we *don't* need.

Could be worse (3, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 4 years ago | (#32181022)

It could, and probably will, be worse. I can see this kind of thing used by companies when they're supposedly testing for drugs, and it'll just so happen that down the line there'll be some "restructuring" in which everyone who is slightly more probable to need sick days down the line is silently let go. And God have mercy on you if someone does a statistic to the effect of "people with gene XYZ show a 2% higher chance of depression / drug use / paedophilia / having problems with authority / whatever."

Re:Could be worse (2, Informative)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 4 years ago | (#32181236)

There are laws against using genetic information for hiring/firing decisions and health insurance purposes.

Laws aren't perfect, so it's conceivable and perhaps even probable that a few people will be negatively impacted by insufficiently private genetic testing, but systematic abuse of this kind of information opens you up to law suits that are far more serious than slightly elevated group insurance rates.

Re:Could be worse (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#32181402)

Even without laws, the underlying assumption that there is actually a genetic underclass that is worth discriminating against is sort of silly. Companies discriminating on productivity are likely to be far more successful than companies discriminating on statistical likelihood of future sick days.

Insurance is different, but perhaps genetic testing will force us (as a society) to confront the difference between health coverage and insurance.

Strange new world (1)

mollog (841386) | more than 4 years ago | (#32187914)

Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, was unpopular for her views on eugenics. Too soon after Nazi Germany and their experiments with eugenics. But, to some degree, eugenics might be unavoidable.

We already have genetic counselors. How is that different from eugenics, I don't know. Perhaps a matter of degree. Many of us already deliberately avoid childbearing to avoid transmission of a wide variety of congenital diseases.

This genetics testing helps to improve detection of more subtle defects, and it can give the 'all clear' for other potential issues. Imagine that some dread disease appeared in your family tree and you feared transmitting it. Getting tested could give you the 'all clear' to have children.

I know of a case where a couple had a child that couldn't sweat. It was congenital. They had another child. I don't recall if that additional child also had the issue. But I can assure you that if I knew of this problem in my genetic makeup, I would be seeking donor genetic material to substitute for my evidently dangerous material.

Re:Could be worse (2, Insightful)

denzacar (181829) | more than 4 years ago | (#32181850)

There are laws against using genetic information for hiring/firing decisions and health insurance purposes.

You don't fire someone because he/she is likely to get sick, is homosexual or a lower race.
You find something else to fire them for. See this instructional video. [imdb.com]

Re:Could be worse (-1, Troll)

mi (197448) | more than 4 years ago | (#32182668)

I can see this kind of thing used by companies when they're supposedly testing for drugs, and it'll just so happen that down the line there'll be some "restructuring" in which everyone who is slightly more probable to need sick days down the line is silently let go.

When suggesting — explicitly or otherwise — a law regulating the employer-employee relationship, one must always apply it to themselves both ways (for most people that means, consider yourself an employer too).

Do you want to have to explain, why you switched your pizza-shop — if the dumped establishment was owned by someone with cancer, you may be in trouble... Would you be willing to have to justify going to a new barber-shop? The anti-discrimination authorities may get interested, if your old barber was Black, but the new one is White...

Union-lovers, would you accept your nanny's refusal to stay an extra 10 minutes, when your train is late, because union's rules forbid her from "overworking"?

Back to the matter at hand, it is, of course, horrible, that the health insurance is tied to employment for so many people... The solution is to make it just as private, once again, as most other things — including other kinds of insurance — still are...

Re:Could be worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32182958)

You're not the employer of your pizza shop or barber shop, you're a customer. They are not the same. You're an idiot.

Umm, yes (3, Interesting)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 4 years ago | (#32183510)

Union-lovers, would you accept your nanny's refusal to stay an extra 10 minutes, when your train is late, because union's rules forbid her from "overworking"?

Once you accept that she too is a human being, has a family, etc, and isn't there just as some accessory to your wellbeing -- a notion that sadly some nerds seem to have trouble understanding -- then, yes, it makes sense to worry about her work conditions too. Negotiate first. And I'm sure that if it happened once that you need her to stay some more, and it really is 10 minutes, you can agree to some compromise. If you need her to do several hours of overtime every day, now that's where I damn hope that the union has something to say.

Besides, I'm in a country where unions are everywhere (Germany) and contrary to the libertarian BS I hear from over the ocean, it didn't result in either bankruptcy or slavery yet. It also turns out that the unions aren't this evil thing hell-bent on causing disruption and preventing work getting done. Most of those people still want to work, it turns out. They don't want to be shafted, but that's a whole different issue.

More to the point, I'm not aware of any major union over here which flat out prohibits overtime and demans you exit the door on the exact minute. They might however ask for overtime pay. Especially if it happens regularly, and we're talking a lot more than 10 minutes.

But, again, once you realize that that nanny is a human being too, it might not be that hard to accept.

Do you want to have to explain, why you switched your pizza-shop -- if the dumped establishment was owned by someone with cancer, you may be in trouble... Would you be willing to have to justify going to a new barber-shop? The anti-discrimination authorities may get interested, if your old barber was Black, but the new one is White...

First of all, it's a non-sequitur, since I was talking about genetic testing. If you need genetic testing to realize that your barber is black, you have bigger problems :p

Second, even as one of those "but the employer has to discriminate because the customers might" excuses, it's a dumb one in this case. If you need a genetic test to determine something about an employee, then rest assured that the customers don't know that. If there was some big "I'm at risk of alzheimer's" sign on the guy's forehead to supposedly warn the customers off, you wouldn't need genetic testing to determine that in the first place.

Third, I'm not aware of anyone anywhere who was actually sued for switching a pizza shop or barber. Care to point out any actual cases? Or is it one of those BS over-the-top slippery-slope scenarios that some people seem to need to make their case for why shafting others should be ok?

Fourth, if you'd actually switch a shop because that barber has cancer (it's not contagious, you know?) or because genetic testing has found he's at slightly higher risk of Alzheimer's (ditto, you're not bacteria, you can't just absorb his deffective genes), then you're simply put a complete idiot. Genetic diseases are always non-contagious. It doesn't care if that guy shaved your beard, or handled the dough in your pizza, or even is your lover, you can't become infected with his genes or anything. We may not send the anti-discrimination authorities after you, but don't expect much support or respect there.

Re:Umm, yes (1, Troll)

mi (197448) | more than 4 years ago | (#32184164)

Once you accept that she too is a human being, has a family, etc, and isn't there just as some accessory to your wellbeing

I do accept all that, but my train is still late, so I have to ask her to not leave my kid unattended for another 10 minutes...

If she (or her union) claim, she has to leave anyway, or even simply charge me "overtime" (150%, one hour minimum), I'll start looking for a new nanny immediately. And so will you.

Point is, we are all employers...

Fourth, if you'd actually switch a shop because that barber has cancer

Why I actually switch a shop is irrelevant! But, if there anything about my old barber, that's "protected", a reasonably zealous anti-discrimination officer may (nay, must!) get interested anyway — and I'd hate to live in a country, where I'd have to explain all of my, supposedly, free decisions.

"Hello. We've noticed, that over the past 12 months you've ordered pizza 5 times more often than General Tsao's chicken. We suspect, you are a White bigot discriminating against Asians. Please, hand over all of your purchase-records for a closer audit."

This is, what the sufficiently large employers already have to do. Some of them may be bigots, and some may not be — in either case, if I don't want it applied to me, I don't want it applied to anybody.

We may not send the anti-discrimination authorities after you, but don't expect much support or respect there.

You can shove your "support and respect" where the Sun does not shine, but your promise, that you may not send the authorities after me is insufficient. Because tomorrow you "may" change your mind...

More BS? (2, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 4 years ago | (#32185034)

If she (or her union) claim, she has to leave anyway, or even simply charge me "overtime" (150%, one hour minimum), I'll start looking for a new nanny immediately. And so will you.

I'm not aware of any place which rounds upwards to the nearest hour, much less it being a uniform thing for unions generally. So I take it it's another of those BS extra assumptions needed to make the case for why unions are bad. Got any more around?

At any rate, I think it was libertarians who were into everything being solved by contract not by regulation. Surely you can inquire first hand if that fee is rounded up to integer hours or not, before hiring her.

But most importantly basically, she has to do unpaid overtime? If you demand extra work from her, she has to make the loss, but god forbid that it costs _you_ anything? WTF? Seriously. You preach at me that we're all employees and employers, but... what, you are more equal than her there?

Anyway, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't start looking for a new one.

Why I actually switch a shop is irrelevant! But, if there anything about my old barber, that's "protected", a reasonably zealous anti-discrimination officer may (nay, must!) get interested anyway -- and I'd hate to live in a country, where I'd have to explain all of my, supposedly, free decisions.

"Hello. We've noticed, that over the past 12 months you've ordered pizza 5 times more often than General Tsao's chicken. We suspect, you are a White bigot discriminating against Asians. Please, hand over all of your purchase-records for a closer audit."

Let's keep it simple this time: are you aware of such a situation where anyone anywhere was sued for changing their pizzeria, or ordering more Italian than Chinese? Or do you think that repeating the same falsehood three times somehow makes it true, like in Lewis Carroll's The Hunting Of The Snark?

IOW, if your support for discrimination hinges on such false scenarios -- as it usually tends to -- colour me unimpressed.

You can shove your "support and respect" where the Sun does not shine, but your promise, that you may not send the authorities after me is insufficient. Because tomorrow you "may" change your mind...

Aaand there's the third time.

Re:More BS? (0, Troll)

mi (197448) | more than 4 years ago | (#32185852)

I'm not aware of any place which rounds upwards to the nearest hour

You are not aware, therefor it must be BS...

At any rate, I think it was libertarians who were into everything being solved by contract not by regulation

Yes, a contract. A contract with the worker, not their union. Surely, workers are entitled (by freedom of association) to form any groups, etc. But no one — neither the giant automakers nor the nanny-hiring families — must be legally-bound to hire union-only. And any union-won contracts to that effect must be studied with the anti-monopoly bias.

Let's keep it simple this time: are you aware of such a situation where anyone anywhere was sued for changing their pizzeria, or ordering more Italian than Chinese? Or do you think that repeating the same falsehood

It is not any more of a "falsehood" than any other caricature. Individual consumers' tastes in food aren't (yet?) targeted, but the employers' tastes in employees already are. I argue, that these aren't different from each other.

When you call for a food delivery, you are employing the restaurant. If we were to consistently apply the same laws to all employers, we'd have to study such food-ordering habits for signs of bigotry in the same way, personnel-hiring of companies is already studied by Attorney Generals [nydailynews.com] .

Re:More BS? (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 4 years ago | (#32186186)

It is not any more of a "falsehood" than any other caricature.

I think you told me all I wanted to know when your baseline for how much sense it must make is "any other caricature." Because that's really what it is. It's a caricature of a slippery slope scenario in which surely laws will be based on an over-simplification, and we can't possibly think in shades of grey or make exceptions where needed. And surely stuff like a bunch of women unionizing will all be an evil bunch who plan to leave toddlers unsupervised for the sake of making a point (and obviously don't fear lawsuits or laws either.) And surely it'll be as simple as some dictatorial agency kicking in your door, and/or someone actually can afford the lawsuits to prove that half the population's ordering more X than Y is discrimination and not taste preferences, and/or somehow that burden of proving a "mens rea" (evil intent) will no longer apply in court. And surely in a democracy over half of a country will vote to do that to themselves. (Oh, wait, you're in the USA, aren't you?;)

And, since that's where we started, that surely if we object to genetic testing as a reason to discriminate, it'll lead to that kind of a caricature of a distopian future. Because, I guess, once we started forbidding something, there's no way we can stop forbidding unrelated stuff.

I'm sorry, but that's exactly the problem: it's a caricature. Wake me up when you have an argument that actually applies to genetic testing and to what is, not on what surrealistically unrelated BS it might possibly lead to.

Also, one more thing (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 4 years ago | (#32186344)

You don't seem to understand this newfangled "burden of proof" concept.

You are not aware, therefor it must be BS...

It's not my burden to prove the negative. Otherwise I could equally go "aliens live among us unless you can prove that they don't." If you want to claim that something exists, it's your burden to provide the evidence, not mine to check all nanny agencies and unions and make sure none of them have a policy to leave toddlers unsupervised.

IOW it's BS because it's unsupported. It's that simple. If you actually support the claim, sure, then it stops being BS.

And the same ought to apply to that slippery slope scenario. It's not my job to give you promises that it won't happen. If you think you can objectively make a case of that kind of thing happening, go ahead. Otherwise it's just another unsupported claim.

Re:Could be worse (2, Informative)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#32183678)

"The anti-discrimination authorities may get interested, if your old barber was Black, but the new one is White... "

I've been able to tell the difference between black and white folks without genetic testing for my whole life. But if I switched from a black barber to a white one I really doubt that the authorities would care.

I find it fascinating that the dsytopic future you warn against has already been proven not to pass. I'm sure you could have thought of some form of government control that actually happens. Sheesh.

Re:Could be worse (1)

mi (197448) | more than 4 years ago | (#32184016)

I'm sure you could have thought of some form of government control that actually happens.

It does happen everyday. It is just that you are excluded from the rules. And not because you are good (or non-bigoted), but because there are too many of your kind and forcing all of you to comply is politically suicidal...

For a closer-to-home example, consider New York City's laws against landlords discriminating tenants... Discrimination on a large number of parameters is banned. But the owners of two-family houses are exempt [nyc.gov] ... Is it any more acceptable (and less divisive) to be a bigot, if you are a small-scale landlord?

It is not. But such small-scale landlords represent a far larger proportion of voters, and would get really upset, if, suddenly, they are no longer able to reject a tenant on their own whim. But, as long as the illiberal rule, that prevents people from using their property the way they want, applies to somebody else, most people don't care and allow themselves to be swayed by the discrimination poster-boys and -girls...

Hence my point — when considering laws regulating inter-human relationships, imagine yourself in both positions...

Re:Pathway Genomics Agreement (0)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32181026)

More dangerous would be something like you sending off a workmate's saliva to see if they have HIV and then using that information to force them out of a job, etc. That's the sort of casual mis-use that we *don't* need.

Too right. If you think a workmate has HIV then stay the hell away from their saliva.

Re:Pathway Genomics Agreement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32181118)

Too right. If you think a workmate has HIV then stay the hell away from their saliva.

Remember kids: AIDS is transmitted via sweat, saliva, tears, breath and mosquitos ... or not. We are not allowed to talk about anything possibly related to sex so we leave you in the dark. Happy paranoia ;)

Re:Pathway Genomics Agreement (4, Informative)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#32181186)

HIV can be transmitted by saliva, but the virus isn't typically concentrated there to the same degree as sexual fluids, or the bloodstream. Anecdotally (from my Biology teacher at school), it was guessed at around one litre of saliva would have to be ingested to pose a serious risk of infection.

Re:Pathway Genomics Agreement (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#32182142)

+ 1 informative, -1 ICK.

Re:Pathway Genomics Agreement (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32182934)

"Contact with saliva, tears, or sweat has never been shown to result in transmission of HIV."

From:
http://cdc.gov/hiv/resources/factsheets/transmission.htm

Re:Pathway Genomics Agreement (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32187542)

Too right. If you think a workmate has HIV then stay the hell away from their saliva.

Remember kids: AIDS is transmitted via sweat, saliva, tears, breath and mosquitos ... or not. We are not allowed to talk about anything possibly related to sex so we leave you in the dark. Happy paranoia ;)

Don't have unprotected sex with them either.

HIV is Not a Genetically Inherited Disease! (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32181124)

More dangerous would be something like you sending off a workmate's saliva to see if they have HIV and then using that information to force them out of a job, etc. That's the sort of casual mis-use that we *don't* need.

Why would you use a genetics test to test for HIV? While you can now test for HIV with saliva, Pathway Genomics [pathway.com] does not check for HIV as it's not a genetically inherited disease. It can be passed from mother to offspring prior to or during birth but it's not inherit to the genetic material. These tests at Walgreens are not to check for HIV or AIDS.

if you are with someone "significant" who calls the whole thing off because of things like that, then you're much, much better off without them, surely?

Depends, relationships are all about compromise. You meet the perfect someone but they're a hypochondriac when it comes to cancer. Oh well, you can work past that until they get their hands on this test and demand you take it or, like I said, send in your sample without your consent. No one's perfect. Someone worrying now about their offspring's future is not a bad thing. The bad thing is proceeding without consent. Your fears, however, make absolutely no sense.

Someone with a genetically inherited disease working next to you does not pose a risk unless you plan on them becoming your father or mother.

Re:HIV is Not a Genetically Inherited Disease! (1)

tom17 (659054) | more than 4 years ago | (#32181260)

I didn't know genetics can be passed down through adoption!

Both risk & threat (0, Redundant)

noshellswill (598066) | more than 4 years ago | (#32181280)

Nope. That genetic **time.bomb** working next to you is a threat as-well-as a risk. He will drop_dead at.the.wheel while driving you to the airport. SMASH!! UBdead. See how threats work ?

Re:HIV is Not a Genetically Inherited Disease! (1)

zarzu (1581721) | more than 4 years ago | (#32181310)

(...) unless you plan on them becoming your father or mother.

your ideas intrigue me. i'd like to subscribe to your newsletter.

Re:Pathway Genomics Agreement (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32181128)

I shudder to think that someone might grab some of their significant other's saliva in order to see what their genetic tests reveal and call the whole thing off based on the fact that their offspring would have a 5% higher chance of getting breast cancer according to The Super Deluxe Cancer Finder 3000.

I wouldn't be *as* concerned with the interpersonal relationship side of things. If someone learns they both carry the recessive Gene for a harmful genetic disorder (*not* trivial stuff like eye color or crow's peak) then it's important to know. And maybe with their values they *want* their own kid with their mate, and not from a sperm/egg donor or adoption agency. If it was anything more trivial than that, then it was probably not a healthy relationship anyway.

The big thing would be companies using said tests/results to let go of employees with too high a risk for their health insurance premiums. Some US companies already use weight and smoking as criteria to fire people in At-Will States... and some will explicitly state the health insurance reasons. So long as they don't violate some of the big laws (race, religion, gender, etc) they're pretty much allowed to do fire someone for whatever reason they want.

Re:Pathway Genomics Agreement (1)

matt_hs (1252668) | more than 4 years ago | (#32183030)

If someone learns they both carry the recessive Gene for a harmful genetic disorder (*not* trivial stuff like eye color or crow's peak) then it's important to know.

In our own minds, we feel it's important to know. However, by knowing and avoiding mating with someone with a recessive gene for some condition we consider tragic, we may be preventing the completion of a gene mutation in progress that would strengthen us at some point in the future. No, not all of our offspring live as a result of these inherited diseases but it is likely some will and they may reproduce, potentially passing on a new gene that avoids this condition in the future.

We learn more from adversity. Having the perfect child doesn't teach us anything. I would posit that many of those parents who have to deal with children with disabilities learn a lot more about parenting and selflessness than those whose children are considered "normal" by society.

Re:Pathway Genomics Agreement (1)

clemdoc (624639) | more than 4 years ago | (#32181282)

Here's some required reading [pathway.com] if you are contemplating this. Most importantly:

5. Services Limitations. The Services provided by Pathway Genomics are solely for research and educational purposes and uses. Although based on scientific research, the Services, including all information about genetic findings and probabilities, have not been fully validated and shall not be relied upon by you or any other person to diagnose, treat or prevent any disease or health condition. You should consult with a physician or other appropriate health care professional regarding the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of any disease or health condition.

Emphasis mine. I knew that'd be in there along with point 13 (the indemnity clause).

What's the problem? Of course decisions based on genetic testing should be taken only after consulting a doctor. That actually should be written in big letters on the packaging.

Re:Pathway Genomics Agreement (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32182782)

Well, as long as that someone does any of
- smoke
- eat fast food crap
- use nasty chemicals for cleaning
- use nasty chemicals on the body
- use furniture with nasty chemicals
- live in a city with dirty air
- live in a house with nasty chemicals built-in
- gets too much radiadion (e.g. UV)
- etc...
he/she is an idiot when acting like that anyway.

I don’t shudder. since I don’t want to date idiots anyway. ^^

Reminds me of a business plan (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 4 years ago | (#32184458)

I've always thought about: Walk-in MRI clinics. Show up with say, $100 and we'll throw you in a machine and give you a DVD of the ONLY copies of the images - after you sign a waver absolving us of all responsibilities about what the images mean, leaving the analysis to you and your doctor(s).

Of course I suspect all doctors would refuse to even look at the images, let alone analyise them, as they didn't get their beak wet from the clinic profits or insurance overcharges. Plus the AMA would probably muscle all the Federal and state regulators to shut down the idea before it got started. All in the interest of the patient, of course. /sarcasm

Re:Reminds me of a business plan (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#32185444)

I've been to walk in MRI clinics. Siker Medical MRI in Portland Oregon, my doctor at a hospital with multiple MRI machines recommended I go there because Siker had newer ones and better ones.

I had my MRIs and was given the images on CD-ROM along with software to view them for Mac/Windows.

It costs a crapload more than $100 though since the Siemens 3 Tesla machine costs about 3 million dollars and a couple hundred thousand dollars a year to keep running, plus salaries for the staff. I hear the computers and software for them cost a bunch too

Re:Pathway Genomics Agreement (3, Insightful)

orgelspieler (865795) | more than 4 years ago | (#32184578)

Funny that they claim you retain copyright to your genetic information, just so they can claim you've given them permission to distribute it. In order for something to be copyrighted, it has to have creative content. That means you can't keep them from publishing it based on copyright law, but you can't grant permission based on copyright law either. They're trying to use this as an end-run against privacy and non-discrimination laws (HIPAA and GINA).

The service limitation clause is more of the same. They're pretending they're not providing a medical service, so they won't be held accountable. HIPAA privacy rules only apply to medical service providers. Very sneaky, these guys.

It's sad to think that people were mocking congress when they passed the genetic discrimination law. Now it appears they didn't go far enough. Maybe they should have made a genetic information protection law. The Supreme Court (or was it a federal court?) recently ruled that they can't patent genes (BRCA). So maybe there's hope.

Gattaca (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32184816)

Wow. Gattaca is now. Did nobody else see this movie?

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119177/plotsummary [imdb.com]

:S (1)

danny_lehman (1691870) | more than 4 years ago | (#32180870)

next theyl be hiring surgeons and charging "sale" prices for operations..

Re::S (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32181028)

Also known as a Private Hospital, at least in my part of the world

What's the point? (1)

asukasoryu (1804858) | more than 4 years ago | (#32180886)

“The claims have limitations based on existing science, and consumers should not be making important medical and lifestyle decisions based on these tests without first consulting a health-care professional,” Riley said.

So why don't I just ask the gypsy fortune teller instead. She probably has more experience experience.

Re:What's the point? (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32180968)

They gypsy certainly has better applied psych skills; but, for a great many genetic(or suspected but not yet fully elucidated) conditions, there is a way that is cheaper and more effective.

Family history.

With the exception of (not-nonexistent; but quite rare) conditions caused by a mutation or mutations that originated with you, not earlier in the line, or a fairly small number of well developed genetic tests, most of which you aren't going to get over the counter at CVS, you'll have a better chance of learning about the likely phenotypic consequences of your genes by looking at mommy and daddy, keeping their environment in mind(daddy's lung cancer probably doesn't count as "family history" if he was a chain-smoking asbestos miner, it probably does if he wasn't).

DNA sequencing has, certainly, gotten cheap enough that you might actually get a fairly accurate reading of a subset of your genome for a hundred bucks through the mail. However, I'd be quite surprised if, when it comes to predicting the consequences, which are what people actually care about, the method is going to outperform just looking at family history. In a lot of cases, the science simply isn't settled, at any price. Even where it is, you are going to be getting some mail merge algorithm, not a geneticist, or even a genetic counselor, for your hundred bucks.

Re:What's the point? (1)

crow_t_robot (528562) | more than 4 years ago | (#32181564)

One word: Orphan. Not everyone has access to family history. Even people that were raised by their genetic parents may have lost them prematurely and doesn't have contact with extended family.

Re:What's the point? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32182562)

Oh, obviously family history isn't 100% useful in all situations.

My point was simply that, when evaluating a "predictive" genetic test, "more predictive than nothing" is, in most cases, not actually the standard you should be holding it to. "More predictive than family history" is, except when that is unavailable, the much more appropriate(and much tougher) standard. Particularly for conditions where the genetics are not straightforward, watching your relatives run similar genetic code often tells you more than getting your own raw sequence.

Here's the catch (3, Informative)

nbauman (624611) | more than 4 years ago | (#32183206)

there is a way that is cheaper and more effective.

Family history.

With the exception of (not-nonexistent; but quite rare) conditions caused by a mutation or mutations that originated with you, not earlier in the line, or a fairly small number of well developed genetic tests, most of which you aren't going to get over the counter at CVS, you'll have a better chance of learning about the likely phenotypic consequences of your genes by looking at mommy and daddy

You are correct.

I just went through a stack of articles on this so let me see if I got it right.

There are two kinds of genetic diseases.

First there are the extremely rare diseases which are caused by a single mutation, like Gaucher disease. If it was in your family, you'd almost certainly know it, or you'd at least know that you have a problem in your family, because you would have had relatives who had it. Like most of the rare diseases on that list http://www.pathway.com/more_info/full_list_of_conditions [pathway.com] (all of which you can look up in Wikipedia) it's a pretty dramatic disease.

One of them in the news lately was Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, which is worth looking up http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/11/health/research/11gene.html [nytimes.com] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charcot-Marie-Tooth_disease [wikipedia.org] just because it's so interesting.

Second there are the more common diseases like breast cancer, colorectal cancer, coronary artery disease, diabetes, etc., which most of us will die from.

There are a few single-gene mutations that will usually result in cancer, like the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene for breast cancer, which occur in about 1 or 2% of the population.

But most of the other genes that are associated with those diseases only confer an additional 1% (or less) risk of the disease. That's the big frustration in genetic medicine. The doctor tells you, "You've got a genetic variation that, other things being equal, gives you a 1% increased risk of getting diabetes." How is that information going to change your life in any way?

Scientists think they're doing pretty well if they discover a gene that increases the risk of a common disease by 10%. Now 10% is the *relative* risk. If 5% of the population gets a particular disease, that gene will increase the risk to 5.5%, which is not much greater. So you've found out that you have an increase in the *absolute* risk of 0.5% from that one gene. (But you don't know anything about the dozens of genes affecting that disease that they haven't discovered yet.)

One of the problems with BRCA1 and BRCA2 is that those genes were patented by Myriad Genetics, which was charging $3,000 or more to test for that one gene. Many of the most important genes were patented, and one of the disadvantages of that was that it made it impossible to put together a cheap screen of all the common disease-associated mutations. Myriad just lost a patent lawsuit, and if that decision is upheld, we will be able to get genetic screens with every important known mutation. http://www.aclu.org/free-speech/brca-genes-and-patents [aclu.org] But I can't tell from Pathway's web site whether they include BRCA1 and BRCA2 screening in their test.

Another problem is that mutations are caused by a defect in DNA. There are lots of defects. The Pathway test may be testing for one breast cancer mutation, while you have a different mutation somewhere else along the DNA strand that gives a protein with a different but equally damaging defect.

Now that I look at it again, I see that they don't include Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease in their genetic screen. http://www.pathway.com/more_info/full_list_of_conditions [pathway.com] (Maybe that's because it was a recently-discovered gene.)

Bottom line: This test looks like a great educational toy for $100. They're packaging individual tests that used to cost thousands of dollars apiece. It's like buying a computer for $250 as powerful as the one that used to cost $250,000 ten Moore's-law cycles ago. However, you can't depend on this for medical advice. It's informative but not reliable. (There might well be somebody who has adult-onset Gaucher's disease and didn't know it and finds out from this test, but the odds against it are very long.) There are mutations they don't include, and the significance of mutations isn't always clear. If you have a family history of relatives dying young, you'd better work that out with your doctor (who can give you an EKG, ultrasound, blood tests and stuff) and a medical geneticist.

However, according to what I read in the scientific journals, we should be able to get a sequence of our entire genome, including all these mutations, for about $1,000, probably within 5 or 10 years. You'll know that you have genes that will give you an increased risk ranging from 100% to 1% of getting specific diseases. Most of it is for conditions that you can't alter much, like susceptibility to Alzheimer's disease.

The big difference is in prenatal testing, and some relatively common genetic diseases have almost disappeared. They don't like to tell you this, but parents have abortions rather than have a child with a severe defect (which they've usually seen in their relatives). This may be the end of cystic fibrosis and sickle cell anemia.

Re:Here's the catch (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#32183904)

Clap. Clap. Nice Summary. You get 2000 Internets and a free Colonoscopy!

Re:What's the point? (1)

loudmax (243935) | more than 4 years ago | (#32183968)

Not everyone has a very good grasp of their family history. I know my grandparents, but very little about my great-grandparents. Also, I know how my grandparents died, but not what else they were at risk for. Adoptees may not even know their biological parents.

I'm not disputing your larger point that family history shouldn't be ignored. But genetic testing is available to anyone, regardless of their relationship with their parents. This is also a science that's advancing by leaps and bounds. Imperfect as it is, we can reasonably expect it to improve greatly in terms of accuracy and accessibility in the near future.

Re:What's the point? (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | more than 4 years ago | (#32181068)

Indeed. The tendency to become obese comes from the western diet, not from the genes. You may have helpful or unhelpful genes, but they play a minor role. The same applies for a number of other diseases.

Re:What's the point? (1)

Custard Horse (1527495) | more than 4 years ago | (#32181256)

As I understand it the test is 99.9% accurate when detecting the stupidity gene.

Whilst on the subject, did you know that dysentery is hereditary? It comes through the genes...

How naive? (1)

CasualFriday (1804992) | more than 4 years ago | (#32180904)

" and consumers should not be making important medical and lifestyle decisions based on these tests without first consulting a health-care professional. " Really? Don't they know their target demographic? I don't know about you guys, but I can already see a battalion of trashy people walking out of Walgreen's with a genetic testing kit in tow. You know, the kind of people who are going to rage when they find out they have to pay for the results and then base life decisions on it, because hey, "I already sunk a hunred' dollahs in tha damn thang!"

Re:How naive? (1)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 4 years ago | (#32180988)

Ofcourse they know people will make important decisions based on it, they just don't want to get sued over it.

Re:How naive? (1)

zarzu (1581721) | more than 4 years ago | (#32181058)

that comment is from the fda, who has no say in the matter. in an earlier response someone already listed the terms of agreement which tell you not to go crazy because of test results and obviously that you can't blame pathway genomics for anything you do. that their target demographic are people that will base choices on the results (there might be a people who do it for fun, but $100 is quite a bit of money for that) doesn't matter since they are covered by the toa. it's essentially like a psychic, just a little more sciency and probably with a higher probability of being right.

people never change (-1, Offtopic)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#32180906)

thousands of years ago people decided they don't control their destiny and that Gods make the rain, harvest or whatever and blamed everything bad on them. these days it's global warming and bad genetics. most of the risks of disease are from what you do to yourself, and not your genes. they even have a study involving identical twins. they have subjects of all ages. towards old age the genetic code between the two is a lot different than at birth due to lifestyle

Re:people never change (3, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32181008)

The question, of course, is to what degree lifestyle is influenced by genetic factors...

Unless we are going to cling to the (intuitively satisfying; but rather silly) theory that humans have some sort of extra-material "free will" floating around in the aether, we pretty much have to concede that behavior has a biological basis. And, if something has a biological basis, the odds of it having a genetic and/or epigenetic component are pretty decent.

Re:people never change (0)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 4 years ago | (#32181196)

Unless we are going to cling to the (intuitively satisfying; but rather silly) theory that humans have some sort of extra-material "free will" floating around in the aether, we pretty much have to concede that behavior has a biological basis. And, if something has a biological basis, the odds of it having a genetic and/or epigenetic component are pretty decent.

When push comes to shove, we have a consciousness that allows us to take a step back, look at what we're doing and make rational decisions based on a number of factors. As much as the behavior that nature and/or nature may be ingrained in us, we have the capacity to override it.

I'd humbly suggest that all those who feel they do not have this ability take up their rightful places in the animal kingdom and revoke their human rights immediately.

Re:people never change (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32181356)

The idea of a rational basis for behaviour has been pretty effectively demolished by now, particularly by the fact that our brains are not computationally powerful enough to calculate perfect rational choices in all but the simplest possible situations. Rationality is mostly a post-hoc invention. i.e. you only think you're a rational being.

Anyway, the capacity to override biologically-determined behaviour also has a biological basis, so also has a genetic and/or epigenetic component.

You humans, always oversimplifying things!

Re:people never change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32181526)

You are exactly the type of person the OP was talking about. The "science is the new god" type.

You honestly cannot accept an argument that human beings are more than the sum of their biological parts.

You can think that (many people do), but it is foolish to ignore the possibility that there is more out there. Real philosophy somewhere got replaced by a straw man, one so good that our society as a whole believed it. While the new god reigns, art, literature and culture die-- sacrificed before the almighty empiricism that provides data on everything while answering nothing.

I pity people who are stuck in a world where you can easily answer questions of "how" things work but don't even realize that the question of "why" things work is not the same thing.

Re:people never change (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#32182176)

these days it's global warming and bad genetics. most of the risks of disease are from what you do to yourself, and not your genes.

Wow, your reference to global warming really came out of nowhere. I've never heard anybody blame it for disease or bad choices.

The assertion that people cause their own diseases is an overgeneralization. Birth defects and chilhood cancer are obvious examples. Many cancers [medicineworld.org] are strongly linked to genetics, e.g. there's a mutation that causes almost certain (near 100% risk) colon cancer.

Many more diseases, e.g. skin cancer, are the product of both genetic predisposition, circumstances, and behaviors. An obvious example of disease due to circumstance is the common cold, or the flu; do you honestly believe you could go a lifetime never contracting those diseases just by being responsible?

Amazing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32180936)

Now just look at the number of people on /. who have done a 180 and are now thumbing their noses at statitics and the roled they play in science and medicine.

Better yet is the number here who are claiming that they may as well be praying to the flying speghetti monster as it's just as effective.

Stinking hypocrits.

Re:Amazing (1)

socrplayr813 (1372733) | more than 4 years ago | (#32181074)

Not at all. The issue here isn't statistics. It's that less-than-brilliant people could potentially be making huge, life-changing decisions based on this test. Yes, the tests might give you an idea about your risks for certain health problems, but there is no real benefit to these kits. The same testing (or better) is available through labs, if someone feels it's necessary. Not to mention, as someone said above, family history is a pretty accurate (and free) way to get similar information.

These kits are just a way for the company to make money by basically putting an advertisement for lab testing in a drug store. I'm not saying they definitely should not be sold in stores, but it needs to be very clear to consumers exactly what they're getting into. We all know it won't be.

Re:Amazing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32181312)

As someone who suffers from a disorder that my doctor has confirmed is likely genetic (after many tests, may I add) with no previous family history, I'm afraid I must dispute your claims.

Re:Amazing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32183008)

Yeah! Just think, if only you could have gotten this kit from walgreens, you could have skipped all that silly doctor stuff and their "many tests" and gotten the answer right up front because you already knew what was wrong with you and just needed the one exact test that proved you were right.

Re:Amazing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32184784)

Awww. I see your jealous that I defeated your lack of logic. So sad, little boy.

Have a nice day trying to skew the issue more for the next poster who cares less about your idiotic rants.

Re:Amazing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32181240)

what in gods name are you blathering about?

Diagnostics (1)

crow_t_robot (528562) | more than 4 years ago | (#32180938)

"and consumers should not be making important medical and lifestyle decisions based on these tests without first consulting a health-care professional" People make major life decisions based on nonsense everyday. Last I checked, every major newspaper in the country prints horoscopes, etc. Also, mentioned in the article, Walgreen's has been selling pregnancy and drug tests forever. Every day people make major decisions based on these diagnostic tests. What is it specifically about genomics that is getting everyone all tight in the panties?

Re:Diagnostics (1)

socrplayr813 (1372733) | more than 4 years ago | (#32181110)

Pregnancy and home drug tests are reasonably accurate and give an actual result (ie. no, you're not pregnant or yes, you're on drugs). These tests tell you that you MIGHT have a somewhat increased risk of something later in life. It's just an advertisement for lab testing that needs to be interpreted by someone who's qualified to understand what the results mean. The vast majority of people who actually buy these things will not use the information correctly.

And again, as people have already stated, family history is a free and accurate way to get similar information.

Re:Diagnostics (1)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 4 years ago | (#32181294)

Meh, I'm not sure that this isn't something that can't be included in the results.

How is a letter that says, "you carry a gene that puts you at a 30% greater risk for thyroid cancer than the general public" any worse than having your family doctor tell you, "your cholesterol is 240, this indicates you have an elevated risk of cardio-vascular disease"?

Re:Diagnostics (1)

crow_t_robot (528562) | more than 4 years ago | (#32181358)

Assuming that the vast majority will use this incorrectly or that everyone has access to family history seems to be poor assumptions.

can't blame them (3, Insightful)

castironpigeon (1056188) | more than 4 years ago | (#32180954)

If they were going to wait for FDA approval before selling these things they'd have to wait... a year? 5 years? 10 years? And how much money would they have to sink into validation testing? I can't blame them for slapping a disclaimer on the thing and selling it as is.

The FDA is the one overstepping its bounds (0)

javilon (99157) | more than 4 years ago | (#32180978)

This is just a diagnostics test. It won't kill anyone. The FDA should let the market sort this things out and not get in the way of progress.

They do enough damage already by setting up a huge entry barrier for startups and new drugs. This only benefits the big Pharmaceutical companies, and I think that is probably the point...

Re:The FDA is the one overstepping its bounds (1, Flamebait)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#32181034)

This is just a diagnostics test. It won't kill anyone. The FDA should let the market sort this things out and not get in the way of progress.

So you have no problem with unregulated and unproven testing being marketed to a public which does not have the smarts to figure out that they are being ripped off by a fear driven marketing campaign?

Or as another choice - you don't care if the swabs used are black plague laden - because black plague laden swabs are more convenient and cheaper for the testing company to supply?

Re:The FDA is the one overstepping its bounds (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32181092)

Two camels in a tiny car.

Re:The FDA is the one overstepping its bounds (1)

M8e (1008767) | more than 4 years ago | (#32181230)

"Not FDA regulated" != unregulated

For example the FTC has things to say about false advertising. (a test should work, otherwise it's not a test.)

And surely there is law against using black plague laden swabs...

Re:The FDA is the one overstepping its bounds (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#32181890)

And surely there is law against using black plague laden swabs...

And I'd suggest that the FDA was responsible for that

Re:The FDA is the one overstepping its bounds (1)

javilon (99157) | more than 4 years ago | (#32181874)

Well,

Your answer sounds to me like a fear driven marketing campaign.

Re:The FDA is the one overstepping its bounds (4, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#32181060)

This is just a diagnostics test. It won't kill anyone.

Hopefully you'll never be in the market for a blood sugar test kit.

Re:The FDA is the one overstepping its bounds (1)

crow_t_robot (528562) | more than 4 years ago | (#32181486)

I'm confused...when can a blood sugar test kit kill anyone? Are you saying that if your kit is incorrect then you wont take your insulin and could die prematurely? If so, then genomics tests work EXACTLY the same way. If you don't get accurate results on what you have a genetic propensity for, then you won't get preventive treatment and you will die prematurely.

Re:The FDA is the one overstepping its bounds (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 4 years ago | (#32186016)

and you will die prematurely.

That's pretty much what we're trying to avoid.

Re:The FDA is the one overstepping its bounds (1)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#32181304)

unless they prove that it works there needs to be a disclaimer like on all the infomercial products that you use this for entertainment purposes only and it hasn't been tested.

Re:The FDA is the one overstepping its bounds (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 4 years ago | (#32187268)

This is just a diagnostics test. It won't kill anyone.

Depressed person: "This test says that I'm highly likely to die of an extremely painful and debilitating disease in 30 years!" <shoots self in head>

Help! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32180982)

Were are Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman when you need them?

They're already doing this at 23andme.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32181012)

Not to shamelessly plug the website, but it's out there.

More harm than good... (1)

Last_Available_Usern (756093) | more than 4 years ago | (#32181150)

So many things wrong with this, let's count...

1) False positives causing worry and unnecessary preventive maintenance.

2) False negatives causing folks to overlook healthy practices that they might have otherwise prescribed to.

3) A combination of both. Cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria...

Re:More harm than good... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32181678)

More harm than good?

I'm not discounting the reality of false positives and negatives, but more harm than good?

It's a pretty useless test if more than 50% of the results are erroneous.

Re:More harm than good... (2, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#32182582)

"So many things wrong with this" and you could only come up with three?

I don't know the specifics of this test, but genetic analysis is generally done multiple times, since it's not like DNA is limited in quantity. This lowers the error rate and mitigates both of your points. If the first run of the test indicates you have a marker for a disease, and you don't actually, you'd expect that the next run will disagree with that, and then next one too.

While chances aren't zero that a false positive would make it through multiple rounds, they do decrease, and the odds of that are easy enough to figure out. Out of self-interest, the company is going to make sure that is a low figure. False positives will also likely be discovered in followup if the disease is bad enough in some cases. If I were to get news that I had a marker for a bad disease, the first thing I would do would probably be get independent confirmation, not immediately jump into expensive preventative care.

I need coffee (1)

Theoboley (1226542) | more than 4 years ago | (#32181342)

I read this title as:

Generic Drug testing coming to a store near you.

and somehow was intrigued

The fiancé tester (1)

Explodicle (818405) | more than 4 years ago | (#32181832)

What's interesting about this is that one can use a take-home test to genetically test someone else without their consent.

Wait (1)

gringer (252588) | more than 4 years ago | (#32181884)

Just wait a couple more years, and get a full genome sequence for the same price. We've already got SNPchips that can do almost 2 million [affymetrix.com] genetic tests for about $500 [harvard.edu] . Admittedly, that's for high-volume (96 individuals at least) research-based analysis, but I'm sure it will enter the general public arena in due time.

This is BS Voodoo (4, Informative)

quixote9 (999874) | more than 4 years ago | (#32182060)

Scientists don't know yet which genes in which combinations cause Alzheimers or heart disease or cancer. (Trust me. This type of thing was my job.) All scientists know at this point is a few genes which are associated with chronic diseases.

You'd have a better chance of a true prediction of your fate using astrology. We don't know enough to make a yes/no test for those diseases. We do know enough to make a yes/no test for pregnancy or drugs. (Actually, not always on the latter. Don't eat any poppy seed buns the day before.)

The difference between a drugstore test and a doctor's is that there is some chance the doctor will be aware of the complexity, of what the testing cannot do, and of how much it really means for your future.

The drugstore test is just a way to take your money.

Re:This is BS Voodoo (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 4 years ago | (#32184178)

This is why any serious test gives you probabilities and not yes/no answers. Of course any scientist is aware that most diseases are not linked to a single gene that acts as an on-off switch and that in most cases a cluster of multiple genes might influence the susceptibility for certain diseases, which, then is further modulated by environmental factors. You are perfectly right in that this has no place in the drugstore - even if it gives results in the form of possibilities, this will only instill unjustified panic in people who get told that they have an increased probability to come down with, say, colon cancer, but who have no idea what this actually means.

Indeed. A war story for you. (1)

sbarber (98868) | more than 4 years ago | (#32184224)

Yes, I agree totally. Having these results floating around uninterpreted by someone who really knows the science is just a recipe for silliness, but also some real harm could come if people jump to conclusions.

At one point, our obstetrician ordered up a "routine genetic screening" while my kid was in utero. I guess he was looking for Downs or something where the markers are well-known. What came back was a report of a marker - a "backwards" chromosome, and a cryptic one-liner about possible dire stuff and a reference to an academic paper on which the marker identification was based. Our obstetrician, a very experienced guy, couldn't tell us anything about what dire stuff we might be facing, or what the probability was, or what it all meant. He noted that according to the paper, if one of the parents had the same marker and was fine, then the probability was very high that the marker was benign. We also contacted the geneticist who performed the test for more information and counseling, and she had no further information about the meaning of the results. So we tested both of us parents (not cheap!) and mine came back with the same marker. Big sigh of relief -- no, no particular reason to consider aborting the fetus.

In the interim, we tracked down the researcher who wrote the original paper. Google and email are wonderful things. The researcher turned out to be a nice post-doc at Columbia Presbyterian. She couldn't tell us what dire consequences we might be facing or their probabilities, either. I don't think she'd ever been anywhere near a clinical situation. She had only published a paper noting the correlation and indicating that this might be a fruitful area for further research. She was quite surprised that a commercial genetic testing company was using her results as the basis for a test used for routine genetic screening.

This is very young science, folks. This is just one tiny example, and there are a lot of genes! It's going to take decades to sort through all the data we already have to figure out what it means. Doing this over the counter now is really jumping the gun.

Who needs freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32182614)

Thank you FDA for protecting us from ourselves. God help us if the proletariat are allowed to decide for themselves if they want to use this kit by evaluating it's merits on their own.

Walgreens vs. Walmart (a flamebait) (0, Flamebait)

mi (197448) | more than 4 years ago | (#32182818)

At least, if it is Walgreens — or nearly any other company, that does not actively fight unionization of workforce — we can have a (semi-)intelligent discussion...

But if it were Walmart doing this...

So, maybe I'm missing something.... (1)

Binkleyz (175773) | more than 4 years ago | (#32183050)

Nowhere in TFA does it explain what you get for the $20-$30 that will be forked over to Walgreens.. Does that just buy you a tube and an envelope?

many "bad" genes dont manifest (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 4 years ago | (#32183434)

The 3rd person sequenced James Watson had 20-some deleterious genes, including one for macular degeneration blindness. None had manifested so far. Ditto for Prof Steven Pinker who was about the tenth person sequenced. He carried a gene for baldness. He had a full head of hair at age 55 the last time I saw him.

I think it would matter more if you had a known manifestation in an immediate ancestor and were shown to be carrying that too.

a.k.a. operation pray on hypochondriacs (1)

steak (145650) | more than 4 years ago | (#32183506)

just one more useless thing marketed to hypochondriacs and obsessive compulsives.

Here's my philosophy (1)

CherniyVolk (513591) | more than 4 years ago | (#32183870)

It's bad enough, the realization that I am mortal, that I'm inevitably going to die. Historically, most succumb to this reality and hope they die with dignity, honor or respect and admiration but technically most have always hoped they simply die in their sleep at an old age. No one wants to think about being horribly maimed in a car accident only to die slow and painfully. No one wants to think about dieing of Alzheimer's, or leprosy or any horrible condition perhaps lung cancer. The truth is, dieing in your sleep at a ripe old age is like winning the lottery, few do. So after accepting this reality, one begs the question; do you really want to know how you will go? I think it's best ignorance addresses and governs this question; careless pursuit of such truths could only do more harm than good. Genetic predisposition is becoming well understood, more so the actual understanding of the genetic code (so then it won't be a predisposition but a geneticist can say for a fact "if you live long enough, you will develop cancer, in fact by looking at your code, you have around 9,934,485,343 more permutations before this code activates). To add insult to injury, the man will charge you for this information. This isn't far fetched, the more we understand genetics it may come to light that it's nothing more than an algorithm just like every other machine or functioning system. Some things can catalyze progression of a trait such as smoking might speed up lung cancer but in the end, we all have a death gene somewhere that regardless if we smoke or swallow radioactive materials should we live long enough the same cancer will activate.

I don't want to know myself. I'd rather the doctor tell me upon diagnosis that way I lived my life rich in hope and expectation with the show only getting serious near the end; as expected anyways.

Good uses for this technology would be for... say, part of Special Forces training... testing for congenital heart problems... you don't want a SEAL going into sudden cardiac arrest during a mission ten or so years later. Or a large crane operator to just go into a massive epileptic seizure with several tons on the line 80 stories up.

I think this is good technology. But there should be some heavy arguments about divulging this information in fine detail to just anyone. Perhaps a doctor might know I am prone to have prostate cancer, he can consider that when prescribing medicine or undergoing medical procedures... but I don't want to know that 20 years in advance. I want to live my life free of this dire burden of knowledge. It will be a heavy burden believe me, ever see how people in California go into a fit because someone is smoking, as if it's some life threatening issue... like say, maybe walking around with milk jug full of sarin gas... how ridiculous people get over their "beliefs". Now, tell them something like what's written in stone for them... jesus christ will the shit hit the fan.

I can see it now, "I'm going to sue MTV because they are promoting a beach life style putting social pressures on me, my genetic doctor at Wal-Mart told me I have a rare gene for a type of skin cancer that'll make me die looking like Freddy Kruger and I want my equal rights... even though... genetically, I'm not equal... um... yeah I'll let the lawyer deal with that problem...." Poor McDonalds... they already got sued for having hot coffee... what are they going to do against someone destined for diabetes or maybe if they have the "fat bastard" gene that makes them weigh over 300lbs?

Re:Here's my philosophy (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 4 years ago | (#32184202)

You absolutely got it - we need more stoicism. Living your life in a constant attempt to micromanage risks kills your spirit.

Re:Here's my philosophy (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#32185538)

I realized when I was 7 years old that I was mortal. I was diagnosed with advanced Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and was told "you won't live to be 8".

That was in October 1980. I've made it through that, another cancer, a stroke, a tumor, being wounded in a terrorist attack and a car accident.

I know I'm going to die, I'm finally with a good woman who is also a cancer survivor and we are going to live for every day because we both know tomorrow could be the end. I don't worry about drinking or smoking killing me (even though I don't smoke) and I've never worried about my diet, although now I'm trying to eat better.

goodbye baby girls (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32185618)

So how long till it can be done on fetuses?

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