Precision Medicine Requires Targeted Cancer Therapies, but Payers Reluctant to Pay for Some Genetic Testing Needed to Match a Patient with Right Drug

Clinical labs and pathology groups know how advances in targeted therapies and genomics far outpace providers’ and patients’ ability to know how best to use and pay for them. One fascinating development on the road to precision medicine is that many new cancer drugs now in clinical trials will require a companion genetic test to identify patients with tumors that will respond to a specific therapeutic drug.

Genetic Fingerprint Helps Researchers Identify Aggressive Prostate Cancer from Non-Aggressive Types and Determine if Treatment Will Be Effective

New discoveries about the genetics of prostate cancer could lead to better tools for diagnosing the disease and selecting effective therapies based on each patient’s specific physiology In recent decades, the biggest challenge for urologists, and for the pathologists who diagnosed the prostate tissue specimens they referred, has been how to accurately differentiate between non-aggressive prostate cancer, which can exist for decades with no apparent symptoms, and aggressive prostate cancer that...

More Companies Pay for Employees to Have Genetic Tests in a Trend That Brings More Lab Test Volume to Medical Laboratories

As tests explore genetic markers related to excessive weight gain, and breast and ovarian cancer, companies as well as employees are seeing returns on investment and participation In a development that is auspicious for medical laboratories, more genetic tests are making their way into more corporate health benefit plans. Big brands—from Aetna to Visa—are partnering with personalized health companies and clinical lab companies doing genetic testing as they support tests to help employees...

New England Journal of Medicine Publishes Study Where Researchers Call Attention to Lack of Knowledge about Some Genes Included in Gene Panel Tests for Inherited Cancers

Researchers are concerned about the lesser-known genes included in the test and also point out that little published research exists to support use of these genes for clinical laboratory testing Gene-panel tests for inherited cancers were scrutinized by a group of 17 prominent international genetic researchers in a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) this summer titled “Gene-Panel Sequencing and the Prediction of Breast-Cancer Risk.” These experts pointed out that,...

UnitedHealthcare Pushes Back Start Date for Making Claims-Payment Decisions Based on its Florida Pilot Management Program for Medical Laboratory Tests

Health plan sets no new date for BeaconLBS claims-payment decisions but promises 30-days’ notice before making decisions on claims payment Physicians, pathologists, and clinical laboratories in Florida got a late Christmas present last week. UnitedHealthcare (UHC) (NYSE:UNH) postponed the date when its medical laboratory benefit-management pilot program in Florida, administered by BeaconLBS, would affect claims payments. This was welcome news, because, beginning January 1, if physicians...