Clinical OMICS

MAR-APR 2017

Healthcare magazine for research scientists, labs, pathologists, hospitals, cancer centers, physicians and biopharma companies providing news articles, expert interviews and videos about molecular diagnostics in precision medicine

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6 Clinical OMICs March/April 2017 News U.K. Bioethics Committee Calls for NIPT Moratorium The Nuffield Council on Bioethics in the U.K. released a report expressing its concerns about noninvasive pre- natal testing (NIPT ) and how NIPT services are being sold by private pro- viders. Moreover, the new report calls for a moratorium on the use of NIPT in sequencing the whole genome of fetuses or for finding out the sex of the fetus. "We support the introduction of this test for Down's syndrome on the NHS next year, so long as it is accom- panied by good, balanced information and support," noted Tom Shakespeare, Ph.D., chair of the Nuffield Council's Working Group on NIPT and professor of disability research at the University of East Anglia. "But, if the test is used without limits for other kinds of genetic conditions and traits, it could lead to more anxi- ety, more invasive diagnostic tests, and could change what we think of as a 'healthy' or 'normal' baby. We, therefore, think the test should generally be used only for significant medical conditions that would affect a baby at birth or in childhood." NIPT is currently available in the U.K. through private hospitals and clinics, and in some NHS hospitals. Last year, the U.K. government announced that starting in 2018, the NHS would offer NIPT to pregnant women who have been found through initial screening to have at least a 1-in-150 likelihood of having a fetus with Down's, Patau's, or Edwards' syndromes. Its introduction should mean fewer false results and fewer diagnostic tests, which carry a small risk of miscarriage. Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Biomarker Predicts Poor Prognosis for African Americans New research published by Georgia State University (GSU) researchers shows that high levels of a certain biomarker is linked to poor prognosis in African American patients with tri- ple-negative breast cancer. "We looked at the levels of nuclear KIFC1 in their tumors, and interest- ingly, we found that African American women had slightly higher levels, but it was only within African American patients that the levels mattered for their outcome," explained lead study investigator Angela Ogden, a doctoral candidate in Georgia State's biology department. "African American women with high nuclear KIFC1 levels tended to do poorly, whereas in white women, it didn't matter if they had high or low levels. It had no effect on their out- comes." Racial disparities in disease, partic- ularly breast cancer, continue to pose a major challenge in healthcare. Afri- can American breast cancer patients are more likely to suffer from a more aggressive course of the disease, and have higher mortality compared to other racial groups. In particular, Afri- can American patients with triple-neg- ative breast cancer have a dismal prognosis. "The approach of treating all patients the same, regardless of their racial or ethnic background may not be the best approach, as genetic ancestry matters," Ogden stated. "There may be biomark- ers and treatments that work better for people of a certain ancestry, race, or ethnicity, instead of a one-size-fits-all approach." Cynvenio and Color Partner to Offer Blood-Based Hereditary and Somatic Cancer Testing Liquid biopsy specialist Cynvenio Bio- systems and Color, a cancer risk screen- ing company, announced a partnership to offer the Color Test, a hereditary can- cer panel that analyzes 30 genes includ- ing BRCA1 and BRCA2 in combination with Cynvenio's ClearID Breast Cancer test, which interrogates 27 genes for somatic mutations in breast cancer. "Even well into therapy, too many patients do not seek BRCA testing because of concerns over cost or other reasons, which is unfortunate because BRCA status is important for evaluat- ing treatment strategies," said André jessicaphoto / Getty Images PeopleImages / Getty Images

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