Independence Blue Cross first payer to cover whole genome sequencing

Independent Blue Cross and Culver City, Calif.-based NantHealth have agreed to provide insurance coverage for a comprehensive whole genome and proteome diagnostic platform to diagnose molecular differences in an individual's cancer and identify personalized therapies.

The platform, referred to as GPS Cancer, is a diagnostic test that combines whole genome sequencing of tumor-normal specimens with RNA sequencing and protein analysis to identify the protein pathways active in individuals' cancer.

GPS Cancer is the first Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments-certified comprehensive DNA/RNA test with quantitative proteomics to receive reimbursement coverage in the clinical setting. It is anticipated that the commercial launch of the GPS Cancer test will occur by March 2016.

Coverage for the testing will be available to eligible members of Independence commercial plans beginning in March 2016. Under the agreement, the test will be covered for members with specific conditions including rare cancers, tumors in children, metastatic cancer of unknown primary brain cancer, triple negative breast cancer and metastatic cancer where conventional therapies have been exhausted and patients remain candidates for further therapy, including immunotherapy. Independence's agreement with NantHealth includes specific and complex lab study related to cancer, next-generation whole genomic sequencing of tumor DNA and related proteomic testing.

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