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Symposium: Implications for the future of personalize medicine

DETROIT Are Americans ready to glimpse into the future of their health?

On May 27, researchers with the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), along with Group Health Cooperative in Seattle and Henry Ford Health System, will debate and discuss that question during the one-day symposium "Multiplex Initiative: Implications for Personalized Medicine."

Media are invited to attend the symposium. It will be held from 7:30 a.m. 3:30 p.m. at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit.

Various implications for personalized medicine based on the four institutions' joint study, the Multiplex Initiative will be highlighted during the symposium:

If We Build It, Will They Come? Creating a Research Infrastructure for Multiplex Genetic Testing. Presented by Andy Baxevanis, NHGRI.

How to Build a Genetic Test in Five Easy Steps. Presented by Lawrence Brody, NHGRI.

Social Group Participating in the Multiplex Project. Presented by Sharon Hensley Alford, Henry Ford Hospital.

Profile of Multiplex Testers: Implications for Patient-Physician Interactions. Presented by Colleen McBride.

What Did Participants Want to Know about Multiplex Testing? Implications for Decisions Support Systems. Presented by Christopher Wade, NHGRI.

Informing Patients of their Genetic Risks: Effects on Health Care Seeking. Presented by Robert Reid and Eric Larson, Group Health Cooperative.

If Given a Choice, How Much and What Disease-Risk Feedback Would Participants Want? Presented by Barbara Biesecker, NHGRI.

Potential for Early Intervention; Parents' Views of Multiplex Testing for their Children. Presented by Ken Tercyak, Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Georgetown University.

The Multiplex Initiative investigated the interest level of healthy, young, insured adults in receiving genetic susceptibility testing for eight common conditions. The two-year study looked at how people who decided to take the test would interpret and use the results in making their own health care decisions in the future.

About 2,000 patients took part in the Multiplex Initiative. Of those, 266 agreed to do the free multiplex genetic testing which can detect common variants of genes that slightly alter the chances of acquiring particular diseases.

Researchers at Henry Ford, a major health provider in metropolitan Detroit, randomly selected individuals between the ages of 25 and 40 to participate in the study.

The term "multiplex" refers to performing multiple genetic tests using the same blood sample. The test used for the study was designed to yield information about 15 different genes that play roles in type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, and malignant melanoma.

On average, those who get tested in the Multiplex Initiative received results indicating that they carry four to 10 risk versions of individual genes. However, having a risk version of one of the 15 genes on the multiplex genetic test does not mean that a person is certain to get the condition only that he or she might have a greater chance of developing the disorder. There are many things other than genetics that contribute to the risk of common diseases, including lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, smoking, and sun exposure.

Once enrolled, participants were asked to review information online about the multiplex genetic test and to decide whether they were interested in taking the test. Those who agreed to testing met with a research educator, who provided more information about the risks and benefits of testing and obtained the patient's written consent.

Test results were mailed to participants. Trained research educators called the participants to help them interpret and understand their results. The study also included follow-up interviews with participants three months after receiving their results.

To protect patient privacy, test results obtained during the Multiplex study were destroyed by Henry Ford Health System; they do not automatically become a part of participants' medical records. But participants who wanted to share their test results with their health care providers could do so.


Contact: Krista Hopson
Henry Ford Health System

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