SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Jan. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Veracyte, Inc., a molecular diagnostics company pioneering the emerging field of molecular cytology, today announced that Palmetto GBA, a national contractor that administers Medicare benefits, has established coverage for the company's Afirma Gene Expression Classifier for use in thyroid nodule diagnosis. This means that Veracyte's genomic test is now accessible to 40 million Medicare patients nationwide. Clinical data has shown that Veracyte's test helps resolve inconclusive results on thyroid nodule fine needle aspiration (FNA) samples being tested for cancer with a high degree of accuracy, demonstrating potential to help tens of thousands of patients each year avoid surgery.
Thyroid cancer is the fastest-growing cancer in the United States, with an estimated 48,020 new cases expected in 2011, according to the American Cancer Society. Approximately 450,000 thyroid nodule FNAs – a minimally invasive alternative to surgical biopsy – are performed each year in the U.S. In up to 30 percent of cases, the results are ambiguous, with current guidelines recommending surgery for most of these patients to obtain an accurate diagnosis. This approach is invasive, costly and can result in lifetime hormone therapy for the patients. Inconclusive thyroid FNA results, however, carry only a 20-30 percent chance of malignancy.
"We are pleased by this coverage decision," said Bonnie Anderson, cofounder and chief executive officer of Veracyte. "Inconclusive results on thyroid nodule FNA samples are a common and significant problem for patients and their physicians. This decision will help Medicare patients with inconclusive results access our Afirma Gene Expression Classifier, enabling them to potentially avoid surgery, while also saving money for the Medicare program."
With the move, Veracyte's Afirma Gene Expression Classifier also becomes one
|SOURCE Veracyte, Inc.|
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