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Cancer Sequencing Labs, Advocacy Groups Partner to Increase Genetic Testing Access

NEW YORK – Illumina, Ambry Genetics, Myriad Genetics, and Quest Diagnostics said Wednesday that they have helped found a new consortium to increase access to genetic testing for people with or at risk of hereditary cancers.

The firms are joined by clinical decision support software developer Volpara Health and patient advocacy organizations AliveAndKickn and FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered).

In a statement, the Inter-Organization Cancer Genetics Clinical Evidence Coalition (INTERACT) said it "seeks to provide a collective voice in support of the progression of medical professional and industry guidelines for genetic testing for inherited mutations that increase cancer risk."

Among its objectives are to "ensure policy and guidelines keep pace with the growing body of evidence surrounding inherited cancer risk" and to reach "vulnerable populations who may not currently be aware of their risk or their need for increased screening or other interventions."

"With Lynch syndrome, one of the most common hereditary cancer syndromes, patients have up to 80 percent lifetime risk for colorectal cancer, but an estimated 95 percent of at-risk individuals have not been identified," Robin Dubin, executive director of AliveAndKickn, said in a statement. "To really improve survival rates with informed screening strategies, we need to help drive education and policies that support genetic testing for all those at risk."