"Genetic Screening Of Patients And Embryos Spreads As Costs Fall" - Charles Wallace
The revolution in genomics is not only changing the way people who carry genetic diseases have children. It is starting to make its way into everyone else’s family planning, too. One test, from Sema4, part of the Mount Sinai Health System, identifies 281 separate illnesses. Some of those diseases are fairly common. Carrier Check, also developed by Sema4 and by genomics startup Helix, allows women to test their DNA for 67 possible hereditary diseases with a consumer saliva kit at home. To help couples understand the odds and the risks, counseling is available before and after screening tests. According to Eric Schadt, PhD, professor of genomics and chair of genetics and genomic sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and chief executive of Sema4, 70 percent of the women tested are positive as a carrier for one of the 281 disorders for which they are screened. In a few cases, today’s more-advanced genetic screening of embryos has helped doctors treat and cure diseases before a child is born.
- Eric Schadt, PhD, Jean C. and James W. Crystal Professor of Genomics, Chair, Genetics and Genomic Sciences, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Founding Director, Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology