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Genetics tests available to healthy young adults

Posted Sep 12 2008 2:15pm
have you ever considered having a gentic test done? How would you get the information you need? How would you deal with the results?

These are some of the questions adults 25 to 40 years old may be asking.

A new initiative from the National Cancer Institute has been launched to "investigate the interest level of healthy, young adults in receiving genetic testing for eight common conditions."

Called the Multiplex Initiative, the study will also look at how people who decide to take the tests will interpret and use the results in making their own health care decisions in the future.

The test being used is designed to yield information about 15 different genes that play roles in type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, and malignant melanoma.

"The Multiplex Initiative will provide insights that will be key to advancing the concept of personalized medicine," said NHGRI Scientific Director Eric Green, M.D., Ph.D. "As genomic technologies are introduced for wider use, researchers and clinicians will need to know how genetic susceptibility tests will be received by patients. This study will be an important first step in understanding how such testing can be practically used in primary care settings."

According to the news release,
Researchers at Henry Ford Health System, a major health provider in metropolitan Detroit, are recruiting individuals between the ages of 25 and 40 to volunteer to participate in the study. The participants are being selected through patient lists from Health Alliance Plan, the largest managed care plan in Michigan, owned by Henry Ford Health System and the Henry Ford Medical Group, the health system's group medical practice of more than 900 physicians and scientists. A total of 1,000 participants who meet the study's eligibility requirements will be offered free multiplex genetic testing. A total of 1,000 participants who meet the study's eligibility requirements will be offered free multiplex genetic testing.

I do not know whether they will accept volunteers not in the Health Alliance Plan or the Henry Ford Medical Group, but it's worth contacting them if you are interested.
Waht about security of your genetic information? It appears that the group understands that young adults are very concerned about this issue.
To protect patient privacy, test results obtained during the Multiplex study will not automatically become a part of participants' medical records. However, participants who want to share their test results with their health care providers may do so.

The actual genetic tests will be conducted at the Center for Inherited Disease Research (CIDR), a world-class genotyping facility that is jointly operated by NIH and The Johns Hopkins University.
Wow, I'm impressed. It's not often a news release knows enough about Hopkins to call by its correct name The Johns Hopkins University. Not only is the "s" on Hopkins, the word "The" is in its proper place. Cheers to my alma mater.
Marie Godfrey, PhD
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