The GLP is committed to full transparency. Download and review our 2019 Annual Report

Can genetic tests predict our cancer risk?

| | April 12, 2019
4-3-2019 michigan med l gene educate keyvisual
Image: University of Michigan
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

The [UK] health secretary, Matt Hancock, [recently] shared his shock at discovering that he is at greater than average risk for prostate cancer, despite having no family history of the disease.

The revelation came after he took a predictive genetic test that assesses risk for 16 common diseases, including coronary artery disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma and breast and prostate cancers.

Hancock said the test might have “saved his life” and that such tests should be urgently rolled out on the NHS, to guide screening programs and the age at which drugs like statins are prescribed. However the suggestion was immediately met with controversy. Some claim that the usefulness of predictive DNA tests has been overstated.

Related article:  Video: CRISPR pioneer Jennifer Doudna explains Cas-9 gene editing

So are predictive genetic tests going to revolutionise prevention and treatment of common diseases or should we be sceptical?

Currently, [Professor John Bell] said, [breast cancer] screening programmes face huge problems: they are expensive, they give lots of false positives and miss people such as women in their early forties who never enter routine screening for breast cancer, but who have a high genetic risk. “It’s all slightly hopeless,” he said. “This is exactly what we need.”

Read full, original post: Are genetic tests useful to predict cancer?

Share via
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend