Genetic Health Dna Diagnostic Testing

DNA diagnostics is the field of medical testing and studies that allows you to determine a disease diagnosis or susceptibility to a condition for a patient or their family members. A DNA diagnostic test could provide valuable information to those with conditions such as cancer, diabetes and asthma, or at risk for these diseases.

Using years of research, your family medical history, and DNA diagnostic tests, your doctor may be able to determine if you are at risk to develop a certain disease, or need to take preventative measures. DNA diagnostic testing is a growing industry with promising possibilities. As science and medical research progresses, doctors and scientists are looking for answers to new questions.

The Future of DNA Diagnostic Testing

Your DNA may be able to determine if you will develop a disease later in life or have a recurrence of cancer. Although tests may be expensive, it is possible that in the future DNA diagnostic testing could significantly lower health care costs by allowing patients to take preventative measures or avoid costly unnecessary medical treatment, such as chemotherapy.

The American Cancer Institute estimates that national costs for treating cancer run upwards of $126 billion per year. DNA diagnostic testing could allow those with a high risk for developing a disease to understand risks they face. These tests could also provide insight to measures they can take to prevent onset of a disease, as well as tailor a course of treatment to a patient’s unique genetic makeup.

DNA Diagnostic Testing Centers

Because of increasing reliability, DNA diagnostic tests are being used not only at research specific institutes, but in medical and clinical labs as well. Your doctor may suggest that you participate in chromosome studies, direct DNA studies, or even biochemical genetic testing. Although some consider DNA diagnostic testing to be controversial due to ethical and privacy issues, the results and uses for the results are increasingly promising.

DNA Diagnostic Testing For Cancer

A simple DNA test may help determine whether or not you are susceptible to certain types of cancer. Certain combinations of known risk genes may indicate a much greater likelihood of developing cancer, or experiencing a recurrence of a certain type of cancer. For example, in 2008, researchers at the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet identified five relatively common gene variants that indicate susceptibility for developing prostate cancer. A test will likely be widely available in the next few years for young men to indicate higher-than-average risk for developing prostate cancer.

Direct Testing at DNA Diagnostic Center

If you have a family history of a disease or show symptoms of a certain genetic disorder, your doctor may suggest testing for family DNA traits. A DNA test may indicate a predisposition or susceptibility to having or passing on certain diseases, including:

  • cystic fibrosis
  • Huntington’s disease
  • sickle cell anemia
  • Tay-Sachs disease.

Challenges of DNA Diagnostic Testing

Like prescription drugs, DNA diagnostic tests may be evaluated by the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) because they are considered medical devices, which require approval by this agency. The results of a test may convince patients to not undergo chemotherapy treatment, or otherwise alter their course of medical care.

DNA diagnostic testing is also expensive, and may not be covered or reimbursable by health insurance policies. Profit margins for such tests are huge, and the market for DNA diagnostic testing is rapidly growing. Critics of DNA diagnostic testing complain that the tests are expensive and time consuming.

Resources

BNET Networks Staff. (2008). Examine the U.S. DNA-based diagnostic and test market. Retrieved September 17, 2008, from the CNet Web site: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_pwwi/is_200806/ai_n27512542.

Connor, S. (2007). DNA test will detect prostate cancer risk. Retrieved September 17, 2008, from the Independent Web site: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-wellbeing/health-news/dna-test-will-detect-prostate-cancer-risk-442952.html.

Knox, R. (2008). Combo test identifies prostate cancer risk. Retrieved September 22, 2009, from the NPR Web site: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=18164101.

Pollack, A. (2006). A crystal ball submerged in a test tube. Retrieved September 17, 2008, from the New York Times Web site: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/13/business/13diagnose.html?pagewanted=print.

Sternudd, K. (2008). New gene test for prostate cancer at hand. Retrieved September 17, 2008, from the Eurek Alert Web site: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-01/ki-ngt011708.php.

Yale Medical Group Staff. (2005). What are the uses of genetic testing which may be important for me to know? Retrieved September 17, 2008, from the Yale Medical Group Web site: http://ymghealthinfo.org/content.asp?pageid=P07372.