Intermountain Precision Genomics to develop hereditary cancer gene panels

Intermountain Healthcare is poised to validate and launch several tests to identify genetic variants associated with hereditary cancers.
By Bernie Monegain
12:20 PM

Intermountain Healthcare in Murray, Utah. Photo via Google Maps

Intermountain Precision Genomics announced today it will develop hereditary cancer gene panels. IPG, a service of Intermountain Healthcare, is poised to validate and launch several tests to identify disease-causing genetic variants associated with hereditary cancer syndromes.

The development of hereditary cancer gene panels will be offered through the Intermountain Precision Genomics Core Laboratory, located in St. George, Utah.

The move follows a recent article in the Journal of Clinical Oncology that reveals an unmet need for genetic testing in women with a history of breast and ovarian cancer.

[Also: Intermountain makes strides in precision medicine, advanced imaging]

The JOC article, "National Estimates of Genetic Testing in Women with a History of Breast or Ovarian Cancer," shows that fewer than one in five women with a history of breast cancer or ovarian cancer who meet specific National Comprehensive Cancer Network criteria have undergone genetic testing.

Moreover, the journal notes, most have never discussed testing with a healthcare provider.

"Large national efforts are warranted to address this unmet need," researchers write.

The news comes as no surprise to Intermountain Precision Genomics scientist Amber Guidry, who has been working on validations for clinical genomics tests to detect the presence of mutations in genes that are passed on from one generation to the next.

"The article in the JOC clearly provides data illustrating the need for increased awareness of hereditary cancer risk and lifesaving screenings to help reduce the risk of developing cancer," Guidry said in a news release.

"Genetic testing may be used to identify individuals previously diagnosed with cancer as well as healthy individuals who have hereditary cancer gene mutations," added Brent Hafen, who directs cancer genetic counseling for Intermountain.

He added that genetic counseling in association with genetic testing allows individuals with an increased cancer risk to obtain more frequent screenings at younger ages, which leads to earlier detection and treatment.

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