Collaboration forms to fight misinformation in genetic testing

Insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the University of Michigan Health System launched a statewide initiative to improve genetic testing practices.

The collaboration will be known as the Genetic Testing Resource and Quality Consortium and hopes to identify common clinical scenarios that could benefit from testing and which tests may prove most helpful for patients. The group also plans on developing best practices for how the tests should be performed, improving the quality of those tests and how to advise patients on genetic testing recommendations.

An analysis published last week in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that Internet marketing acts as a double-edged sword for genomic testing and tumor-derived data.  Researchers found that while Internet marketing may accelerate the use of these kinds of care, it may also be “detrimental if it endorses products of unproven benefit.” An analysis of 55 websites that market personalized cancer medicine products found that more websites “contained information about the benefits than [the] limitations” of personalized cancer medicine.