Counsyl Announces Major Oncology Expansion To Advance Genetic Screening For Cancer Risk

Counsyl launches oncology business unit, an expanded test to assess risk for inherited forms of cancer, and tools to improve genetic screening rates across the healthcare system

CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Counsyl, a DNA testing and genetic counseling service, today announced its expansion into the oncology market, with a focus on advancing cancer risk screening and helping cancer prevention efforts.

“In the US, it's estimated that almost five million people have a hereditary cancer mutation. In some cases, that means facing up to an 80% lifetime risk for cancer”

Counsyl’s launch in this market includes:

  • The creation of an oncology-focused business unit, including a dedicated salesforce. By working with oncologists, Counsyl will help patients and their families understand their risk of various inherited forms of cancer, so that they can make proactive decisions about treatment and preventative care.
  • Enhancements to Counsyl’s Inherited Cancer Screen. Counsyl has expanded the Inherited Cancer Screen to test for up to 36 genes associated with an increased risk of more than 10 cancer types such as breast, ovarian, pancreatic, colon, prostate, and melanoma. Counsyl tests are available to patients through their physician, both in-office and through the mail. Tests include on-demand genetic counseling and are in-network with most insurance providers. Results are typically delivered within two weeks or less.
  • FirstCare. Counsyl is piloting a web and mobile-friendly software tool to help physicians easily determine patient eligibility for genetic screening, based on factors such as family history. In a 2015 study of 2,524 eligible women interviewed from the Henry Ford Health System, of those in the high-risk group, only 10% reported having undergone BRCA genetic testing and only 20% were referred for genetic counseling, indicating an underutilization of genetic testing and counseling services on the whole. Sutter Gould Medical Foundation is among the first healthcare organizations to pilot this tool with physicians to advance testing rates among eligible patients.

“In the US, it's estimated that almost five million people have a hereditary cancer mutation. In some cases, that means facing up to an 80% lifetime risk for cancer,” said Ramji Srinivasan, Counsyl Co-founder and CEO. “Inherited cancer remains a considerable, unknown risk for so many individuals and families who would benefit from this knowledge. Our goal is to help people understand their cancer risk by expanding access to genetic screening, providing on-demand genetic counseling, and creating tools, like FirstCare, that benefit both physicians and their patients.”

Inherited Cancer Screen results provided by Counsyl help physicians identify patients who may benefit from more aggressive screening procedures, changes in lifestyle or medication regimens, or preventative actions such as surgery. To help inform these decisions, Counsyl provides physician and patient access to a team of more than 40 board-certified genetic counselors.

Counsyl believes that low genetic testing rates among patients who are eligible is, in part, due to difficulty collecting and assessing a patient’s family history, and was inspired to develop and pilot FirstCare, a new software tool to assist physicians.

Robert Altman, M.D., Chair, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Sutter Gould Medical Foundation said of this new tool, “Patients complete a brief, comprehensive electronic assessment, allowing for more efficient and effective identification of people at a high risk for hereditary cancer. They can then be appropriately counseled and tested. Patients who screen positive for hereditary cancer germline mutations can be more closely monitored, and receive therapeutic interventions designed to reduce their risk of developing cancer.”

Counsyl is announcing this news in advance of its exhibition at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting June 3-7, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois at McCormick Place. Visit the Counsyl booth, #2075, June 4-6, 2016, 9:00AM - 5:00PM.

About Counsyl

Counsyl is a DNA testing and genetic counseling service. We're committed to helping patients understand their DNA and how it can inform important health decisions. Whether it’s starting a family or evaluating risk for cancer, Counsyl's DNA tests provide patients with early awareness about genetic conditions, so they can live informed and prepare for the future. Counsyl has screened more than 600,000 patients and served more than 10,000 health care professionals.

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