Patient, physician and patient advocate representatives discuss innovations in personalized medicine and its impact on the future of health care
WASHINGTON, July 11, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Results for Life (RFL), the educational branch of the American Clinical Laboratory Association, today convened a briefing on Capitol Hill to highlight the value and innovations taking place in the field of genetic and genomic testing. These tests mark the advent of personalized medicine - revolutionizing the way cancer and other life-threatening conditions such as HIV are treated.
Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA-14) keynoted the event while representatives from Genomic Health, an oncology-based genomics testing company, and the National Patient Advocate Foundation were also present at today's briefing to discuss the advantages of personalized medicine for patients.
Genetics is the study of a person's inherited gene makeup and how new traits form through mutations and changes. Genetic testing allows patients to understand the types of genes they have inherited and whether these genes have the potential to cause cancer or other types of diseases. A genomic test is personalized medicine for a patient's specific disease and looks at groups of genes, such as in a tumor, and analyzes the activity of the genes. The results of the genomic test provide doctors with valuable information on how the cancer might continue to grow and what types of therapies will prove most effective for a particular patient.
Genetic and genomic testing improves health care delivery and lowers health costs by enabling physicians and patients to identify disease and begin treatment earlier than ever before, detect disease before symptoms occur, and utilize preventive strategies to avoid invasive care.
"As a patient beneficiary of the Oncotype breast cancer test, my doctor was able to determine that the chance of my cancer recurring was very low and therefore I did not need to undergo chemotherapy," stated Laurie Levin, a former breast cancer patient. "Having undergone chemotherapy decades prior to beat non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, the use of chemotherapy again was extremely risky. The Oncotype breast cancer test saved me from unnecessary medical procedures and allowed my doctor to prescribe the most effective course of treatment."
"Personalized medicine treats the person by providing valuable diagnostics to a patient's individual disease that other lab tests cannot provide," added Dr. Steven Shak, Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President of Research and Development at Genomic Health. "Genomic tests like Oncotype DX are revolutionizing the way health care is delivered by replacing the 'one size fits all' treatment approach with more precise diagnoses and treatment based on the biology of that patient's disease."
While these tests have saved many lives to date, more research is needed to develop genomic tests for all types of cancer and other diseases. "Thanks to results of the human genome project and genomic testing, we're seeing results that allow for real personalized medicine," stated Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA). "These tests are a win-win--they improve treatment for the patient, and help save money by reducing unnecessary or even harmful treatments that do no good. I encourage my colleagues to learn more about these advances in personalized medicine, and to support full funding for the National Institutes of Health, which have played a critical role in these advances."
"Genetic and genomic testing empower a patient to tackle their disease head on with diagnostic information tailored to efficiently and effectively treat their disease," said Nancy Davenport-Ennis, Founder and Chairman of the Board at the National Patient Advocate Foundation. "These tests prevent patients from undergoing unnecessary and often unpleasant medical procedures and help them to treat their disease more cost-effectively by pinpointing the most useful therapy to use during treatment."
"There has been rapid advancement in the genetic and genomic testing world," added Alan Mertz, President of the American Clinical Laboratory Association. "The promise that these innovations and technologies hold for improving patient care are nothing short of revolutionary to the practice of medicine. We urge Congress to support the field of personalized medicine to bring life-changing treatments to people across the nation."
Results for Life is an educational initiative of the American Clinical Laboratory Association (ACLA) which provides information, research and analysis to lawmakers, thought leaders, and health care stakeholders about the value of laboratory medicine in preventing, detecting and treating disease. By emphasizing prevention, embracing innovation, and advocating for patient access to life-saving diagnostics and treatment tools, Results for Life strives to illuminate the role of laboratory medicine in our health care system through the empowerment of patients and clinicians. For more information, please visit http://labresultsforlife.org, sign up for our monthly e-newsletter, or connect with us via Twitter and YouTube.
SOURCE Results for Life