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Free cancer tumour genetic screening? That’s the unusual offer from Contextual Genomics, a private company in Vancouver.
The first 1,500 Canadians who get their oncologists to send in their tumour samples will have their cancer tested using the the company’s trademarked Find-It Cancer Hotspot Panel at no charge.
After that, the test will be offered for sale for less than $1,000.
“You could call it marketing, but it’s making this test available to people who haven’t had access to it before,” said Contextual Genomics CEO Chris Wagner.
The idea is that there might be a drug out there that can target the particular cancer mutation. But that’s if a drug exists, and if it’s approved for use, and if the oncologist knows what to do.
The unusual offer has raised eyebrows among some in the cancer research community.
“My concern is that offering them for free sounds fantastic. Who wouldn’t want it?” said Dr. Daniel Rayson, interim head of medical oncology at the Nova Scotia Health Authority.
“It’s a shrewd and strategic business move to create an appetite for something that sounds wonderful. But whether it can deliver is still something that has to be established worldwide.”
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