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Personalized Diagnostics Through Genomics

By Miriam Bello | Tue, 09/22/2020 - 14:21

Genetics Home Reference describes genetic testing as a type of medical test that identifies changes in chromosomes, genes or proteins. Results can confirm or rule out a suspected genetic condition or help determine a person’s chance of developing or passing on a genetic disorder.

What are the benefits of genetic tests?

On its website, CENTROGENE enlists the main advantages of such tests:

  • Genetic testing can make a difference on accurately diagnosing specific disorders. This gives an advantage in terms of time and costs.
  • With a certain diagnosis, doctors can easily prescribe a therapy suited for the patient.
  • Genetics can be useful for family planning.

During an interview with MBN, Jorge Moran, Director General of Genetics & Health, explained that these tests are especially valuable for cancer treatments. “We developed a genetic test that determines the metabolic profile of the patient, which lets us know how they will respond to oncological drugs, therefore contributing to the creation of precision medicine,” he said. “There are cases when the patient has a slow metabolic profile, which means they will need a smaller dose to avoid complications. There are also cases of fast metabolic profiles who need larger doses to ensure the treatment’s effectiveness.”

Grupo SOHIN is an encourager of this testing option for cancer patients. During an interview with MBN, Juana Ramírez, Director General of Grupo SOHIN, explained that the company is a pioneer in genomic diagnosis for cancer patients. “MammaPrint is a genetic test for breast cancer that identifies patients who would benefit from chemotherapy and those who would not. We have the largest number of breast cancer patients diagnosed through genomic tests.”

Mauricio Gaspar, Director General of INCar, explained during an interview with MBN how genetics can be an option for some other conditions, for instance arterial hypertension, which is caused by overweight, excessive salt consumption, stress and a sedentary lifestyle. “Some people meet these criteria but do not present arterial hypertension. This has led us to start evaluating the condition at a genetic level, just like atherosclerosis.” According to Gaspar, INCar is aware that precision medicine is an effective way to treat these conditions, as it allows the doctor to determine how the patient will react to certain treatments and adjust accordingly.

So far, this diagnosis option is not the most accessible choice for everyone in Mexico. However, some like Grupo SOHIN are introducing this to insurance companies. Others, like Genetics & Health, are working with the government on an agreement to make these solutions available to more patients. “We intend to show the government how genetic testing can greatly contribute to cost savings. Inside the government, there are institutes that do ask for genetic testing, for example SEDENA or PEMEX,” said Moran.

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst