Genetic testing for disorders, especially in large families, can save the public health care system thousands of dollars in the long term, according to new research at the University of Alberta.
"Government is looking for cost-effectiveness in all forms of medicine, and we want to show that this form of testing is worthwhile," said Dr. Dawna Gilchrist, a specialist in adult medical genetics at the University of Alberta. A one-year clinical case study conducted by Gilchrist, and other researchers at the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary, shows that significant cost-savings were achieved while testing a large family for a rare cancer syndrome. The findings were published in this month’s issue of Clinical Genetics.
Dr. Gilchrist, said little data exists on paper to show that genetic testing is cost-efficient. "Through papers such as this, governments may be more inclined to increase funding for genetic services and testing." The case study helps document that genetic testing for mutations in well-characterized, dominant genes is cost-efficient because it either rules in or rules out carriers. The need for further clinical screening is eliminated in those without the mutation.
Bev Betkowski | EurekAlert!
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