Brigham and Women's launches preventive genomics clinic

Boston-based Brigham and Women's Hospital opened its new Preventive Genomics Clinic, which provides services including DNA sequencing, interpretation and reporting of disease-associated genes for healthy patients who want to reduce their risk of future disease.

The genetic testing services are not typically covered by health insurance, but the clinic is working with various laboratory vendors and fundraising to offer free or lower-cost services for patients who can't afford the costs, particularly minority patients who have been underrepresented in genomics research in the past.

The clinic's early offerings will focus on disease risks for single gene disorders, specifically hereditary cancers and heart problems, as well as reproductive risks for individuals looking to have children and genetic markers to avoid medication side effects. Brigham and Women's plans to incorporate polygenic risk scores to help identify patients at high risk for conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and atrial fibrillation.

The Preventive Genomics Clinic aims to differentiate itself from consumer lab testing services by requiring individuals to receive an in-person evaluation by genetic specialists before testing is ordered. The clinic also will help individuals select from a variety of laboratories to meet their medical needs and ensure all medical and lab reports are integrated with the patients' EHRs and shared with their other healthcare providers.

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