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Medical News & Perspectives
October 7, 2009

Growing Calls in United States, Europe to Improve Regulation of Genetic Testing

JAMA. 2009;302(13):1405-1408. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1341

Although the number of genetic tests available has exploded in the past decade and a half, clinicians and patients are often on their own to try to assess whether such tests might help improve care.

Tests were available for only about 100 genetic diseases in 1993, a number that soared to more than 1700 in 2008, according to GeneTests, a resource operated by the University of Washington and funded by the National Institutes of Health that includes information on genetic tests (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/GeneTests/). But governments in the United States and Europe provide limited oversight of such tests, and there is inadequate evidence on the extent to which genetic tests improve patient care.