DNA sequencing is a new prevention that only the rich can afford. It is cheap in Poland

Cancer and other genetic diseases are a problem in a large part of our civilization. Not surprisingly, its richer representatives are able to spend a fortune only to know their chances of getting one of such ailments.

A new branch of the medical industry is developing in the USA. It's about DNA sequencing, i.e. analyzing the genetic code for risky instructions that increase our chances of developing cancer, Alzheimer's, etc. A thorough review of your code can afford the rich so far

DNA sequencing - a new business in the United States

Genomic sequencing programs that cater to seemingly healthy adults have been launched over the past few years at the Mayo Clinic, University of California and the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology. The interest in the new method of prevention is so great that more and more medical institutions are introducing DNA sequencing into their offer.

Brigham and Women's Hospital at the end of last week boasted of opening the Preventive Genetics Clinic, which will offer genetic testing, with prices ranging from $ 250 to $ 2,950, depending on the number of genes analyzed. The DNA sequencing of children's patients will also be offered, which is new in this industry.

Representatives of DNA sequencing clinics admit that this type of study helps diagnose mild genetic diseases that occur in a small proportion of patients. They also make people at higher risk of a given genetic disease checked in this account much more thoroughly during periodic examinations.

The results of such tests allow doctors to provide further guidance to subjects, regardless of whether this means encouraging them to take proactive steps (e.g. preventive mastectomy), or advising them not to underestimate screening.

Patients seem to be increasingly interested in DNA sequencing. There is a growing awareness in society that many diseases can be detected before they appear. This, of course, maximizes the chances of their cure, "said Dr. David Bick, a clinical geneticist who directs the genomics program at HudsonAlpha.

Bick also revealed that nearly 50 adults had paid 7,000 dollars. for sequencing and interpreting their genome since the introduction of this study in 2016.

DNA sequencing in the US is not the cheapest research

Dr. Robert Green, a medical geneticist running a new clinic in Brigham, is frank to the limitations of advanced sequencing programs:

The cost-effectiveness of promoting this on a social basis has not been clearly demonstrated. It is equally obvious that such sequencing leads to costly control tests. - He said.

Green also doesn't hide that he personally questions the very legitimacy of DNA sequencing:

It is difficult to answer the question of whether there are long-term benefits justifying these health costs and whether sequencing, a visit to the doctor and any subsequent stimulated tests will be justified by situations in which the disease can be found and prevented - adds Green.

US insurance companies see the legitimacy of such research only if there is a clear medical reason for it. Such a reason can be, for example, a long history of cancer in the family. However, these are quite niche cases.

Normally, however, insurers refuse to pay for sequencing. Without strong evidence that this type of treatment reduces - in general - the costs of treating insurance clients, nothing is likely to change.

Not all Americans can afford such prevention. Some doctors don't like this situation

The idea that genome sequencing will only be accessible to the rich introduces a new division in our healthcare system, 'said Dr Jonathan Berg, professor of genetics at the University of North Carolina.

Of course, the demand for a new type of research is still growing. Mayo Clinic offers sequencing at its flagship locations in Minnesota, Arizona and Florida.

Genetic testing offers appeared on the medical services market in 2014. However, it was only last year that their popularity began to grow rapidly. Some say it's due to the addition of DNA sequencing to insurance packages offered to corporate executives.

One of the most expensive sequencing offers is Human Longevity Inc. In 2015, HLI conducted an extremely in-depth medical analysis, including genetic analysis, for 25,000. dollars. In order to attract more customers, the company began to offer rebates, thanks to which, since last year, the most expensive research set has to be paid - a trifle - $ 4,950.

DNA sequencing in Poland - it's much cheaper here

In our country, you can not talk about any trend or the emergence of a new branch on the medical services market, but we can analyze the genes for a fraction of the amount collected by American clinics.

Responsible for this situation is the company Warsaw Genomics , founded by prof. Krystian Jażdżewski. The company's strategy is very simple: Jażdżewski wants to examine all Poles and check whether - due to genetics - they belong to the group of increased cancer risk.

The research is conducted as part of the Badamy Genes program, which was developed by the Warsaw Genomics team in cooperation with the University of Warsaw and the Medical University of Warsaw. The test allows you to quickly and effectively assess the risk of developing breast or prostate cancer as well as other hereditary cancers.

How much does it cost with us?

The study is of course paid. Warsaw Genomics may be a company with a mission, but - like any company - it wants to earn on its activities. Currently, the test costs PLN 599, which seems to be an amazing opportunity compared to the price list of foreign companies involved in DNA testing.

The lower price offered by Warsaw Genomics is due to the fact that the Polish company uses a new, much cheaper method of analyzing DNA samples. Our method allows for the analysis of large groups of samples at the same time, thanks to which the costs are much lower because they are distributed over a larger number of people surveyed.

Obtaining research results takes about 3 months. After this time, if the patient proves to be in the high-risk group, he will be invited to a free consultation with a geneticist and will receive advice on prevention. Even in people who are not burdened with the genetic mutation, such a study makes sense - with a very unhealthy lifestyle (lack of movement, obesity), the risk of cancer also increases.

Warsaw Genomics addresses its offer to approx. 2 million Poles

According to Jażdżewski, so many Polish inhabitants belong to the group of increased cancer risk. Most cases involve the most common cancers - breast, ovarian and prostate cancer. 14 genes are responsible for the mutations that cause these cancers, which are first tested by Warsaw Genomics.

These include mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which are very often responsible for breast and ovarian cancers. In addition, the Warsaw Genomics study also includes an additional 56 genes, which are also associated with an increased risk of cancer. However, not all of them have guidelines for how to detect mutations.

In addition to the genome study itself, Warsaw Genomics patients also go through a thorough medical history, thanks to which doctors are able to detect other factors that increase the risk of cancer - smoking, overweight, taking medications, etc.

So far, the company of prof. Jażdżewski examined 20,000 people. This is not an impressive result. However, Warsaw Genomics swears that by the end of 2020 it will be able to examine one million Poles. This is a fairly realistic perspective. More and more people are aware of the importance of prevention when it comes to fighting cancer.

Like all new products, DNA sequencing is expensive for now

Many doctors openly criticize the current situation in which DNA sequencing is in practice reserved for the affluent (or very affluent) part of society. Fact. Even this PLN 599 in Polish conditions is not the amount that most of us spend just like that.

Let us remember, however, that the cost of many medical tests and services, immediately after they were launched, was (or seemed to be) high and inaccessible to ordinary Kowalski. The pace of medicine development is currently so high that I would not be surprised if, for example in 10 years, DNA sequencing would become another test that we would do routinely and without any deeper reflection. Just wait a moment ...

In turn, I recommend Americans to study in Poland. Even taking into account the price of the air ticket (you only have to hit it at a good price) it comes out cheaper.

DNA sequencing is a new prevention that only the rich can afford. It is cheap in Poland


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