Medical Laboratories Take Note: Canadian Lab Company Is Giving Free Genetic Tests for Cancer Screening to 1,500 Patient as Way to Advance Personalized Medicine

Some cancer researchers worry that these patients may not benefit from such clinical laboratory testing because effective therapeutic drugs don’t exist for their cancers

What can be more patient-centric than for a medical laboratory company to offer free genetic tests for cancer? That’s the strategy of a firm in Canada that is offering free cancer genomics testing to 1,500 cancer patients. However, some cancer researchers responded to this offer with skepticism.

In March, Contextual Genomics of Vancouver, British Columbia, began providing its cancer genomics test free to the first 1,500 patients whose oncologists submitted tumor samples. These specimens would be tested using the company’s Find It hotspot cancer panel.

“You could call it marketing, but it’s making this test available to people who haven’t had access to it before,” stated Chris Wagner, Contextual Genomics President and CEO, in a CBC News Canada interview.

Contextual Genomics says its Find It test focuses on “90 hotspots across 29 known cancer genes and analyzes seven exons of three genes,” with the specific genes and mutations selected because they are “actionable and can potentially direct patient treatment, indicate prognosis, and support diagnosis.” Oncologists that participate in this commercial pilot program will receive a comprehensive report that interprets the sequencing results. The report also identifies any approved drugs or clinical trials that target the patient’s gene mutations. (more…)

Canada’s Clinical Pathology Laboratory Leaders to Discuss Trends of Lab Consolidation, Care Integration, and Genetic Testing during a Time of Shrinking Lab Budgets

Across the nation, resources to support medical laboratory testing are dwindling even as physicians order more tests and labs must spend to acquire new diagnostic technologies

Canada’s clinical laboratory testing marketplace has just undergone another wave of consolidation among independent medical laboratory companies that has eliminated major lab test providers in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia.

But that’s just one trend in a nation where successive budget-cutting initiatives continue to whittle down and shrink the nation’s clinical laboratory testing infrastructure.


Medical Laboratories in Toronto Move Forward with Digital Pathology and Clinical Lab Consolidation

Dark Daily visits the anatomic pathology department and clinical laboratory at University Health Network

DATELINE: Toronto, Ontario, Canada—Here in the downtown area of Ontario’s largest city is a healthcare organization known as University Health Network (UHN) that operates one of the province’s larger consolidated clinical laboratory organizations. In support of its hospitals, the UHN Laboratory provides an impressive menu of medical laboratory tests.

In Canada, the United States, and other developed nations, there are ongoing efforts to consolidate clinical laboratory testing across multiple hospitals that are clustered nearby to each other. Thus, some outcomes seen today at the UHN laboratory provide useful insights into the benefits of similar projects to integrate—within one lab organization—the medical laboratory testing activities that are delivered to all the hospitals participating in the consolidated laboratory organization.