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Our Response to the British Parliament Inquiry on Commercial Genomics

User blog

Andrea Riposati

Our Response to the British Parliament Inquiry on Commercial Genomics

"We believe in freedom and knowledge. The DNA belongs to the individual. People have the right to learn about their DNA and have the right to choose." 

The Science and Technology Committee of the British Parliament launched an inquiry into commercial genetic testing.

We firmly believe in the freedom of choice. Both patients and healthy individuals benefit from being able to choose among different providers - commercial and public.

#dnachoice

Below is Dante Labs full submission to the inquiry.

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At Dante Labs, we welcome the interest in genetic tests by the Science and Technology Committee of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

We hope that the inquiry launched on March 4, 2019, will bring the attention of the British government and other European and non-European governments to the importance of genetic tests in a modern healthcare system.

We would like to provide our feedback on four relevant topics:

  1. Benefits of commercial genetic tests for individuals and citizens

  2. Technology used by commercial genomic companies

  3. Interpretation of results

  4. Freedom of choice

 

Benefits of commercial genetic tests for individuals and citizens

Genome sequencing and genomic tests make a huge difference to the lives of patients with rare diseases. Many people with genetic diseases spend years in the “undiagnosed odyssey” before receiving a diagnosis. Commercial genomic tests empower healthcare professionals with the tools to provide more precise diagnoses and prescribe the most effective treatments.

Technology used by commercial genomic companies

The belief that commercial genomic companies use technology inferior to that of academic centers and hospitals is wrong; this idea is merely a myth. On the contrary, commercial genomic companies often have access to more modern genetic and sequencing technologies than local hospitals do. Moreover, companies with a global reach benefit from economies of scale; they can achieve lower costs than a local hospital and then pass these cost savings to the users. At Dante Labs, we benefit from serving people in 84 countries. We have built a flexible cost structure and pass the cost savings to our customers.

Interpretation of results

People are smart. Rare disease patients are extremely knowledgeable about their rare disease and often see one or more specialists. In our experience, less than 1% of Dante Labs’ users asked us for genetic counseling. None of these people put a burden on their local healthcare systems. On the contrary, many took their results to their physician, thus empowering the physician to take more informed actions regarding diagnosis, treatment, and reaction to medications (pharmacogenomics).

Freedom of choice

Finally, we believe in freedom and knowledge. DNA belongs to the individuals. People have the right to learn about their DNA and have the right to choose where to get their DNA analyzed. Genomic testing companies provide people with more options and more offerings, and they motivate each other to constantly innovate to provide broader and deeper analysis for their users.

Renewing our excitement for the interest in genomic testing by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, we welcome further discussions with the Science and Technology Committee and wish to reiterate the importance of choice in accessing multiple options for genomic testing.