Instead of being treated for an illness, most of us would prefer to avoid getting sick in the first place.
But in large measure, our health care system isn’t geared for that. It’s quite good at treating illness but not so good at preventing it. What if you could turn that system on its head and, through genetic testing, identify the risk for a serious illness or disease before it becomes a problem?
Imagine a different kind of clinical care in which patients and their providers could take action earlier to treat or potentially prevent an illness altogether.
23andMe is taking its first steps to do just that.
“By starting with genetics we can give people, and their healthcare providers, better information about risks and potential treatments,” said Paul Johnson, 23andMe’s Vice President, General Manager, Consumer, and former CEO of Lemonaid Health. “This is a first step toward integrating genetics into everyday care. It has the potential to transform the traditional primary care experience and make personalized healthcare a reality.”
An Action Plan
In the fall, 23andMe acquired the innovative telemedicine company Lemonaid Health.
For our customers, starting this week, we will be offering genetic report consultations with a Lemonaid Health clinician. These licensed and patient-centric healthcare professionals can help customers better understand the potential impact of their genetic risk profile and discuss the next steps.
Every day, otherwise healthy 23andMe customers learn of genetic variants that could predispose them to a health condition that could be concerning. These are serious, clinically-relevant conditions. For many of these conditions there may be treatments available, so knowing of a risk offers customers a chance to take steps to prevent or manage them.
This integration with Lemonaid Health will offer customers who may have learned of an unknown genetic risk through their 23andMe Health Reports, or those who simply have questions about a condition, an opportunity to consult virtually with a clinician about what those risks might mean for them. Together with the clinician, a customer can then create an action plan to address the identified risk if necessary.
The First Set of Reports
This first phase of the integration will focus on a subset of 23andMe’s Genetic Health Risk Reports* related to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome caused by variants in the BRCA genes, MUTYH-associated polyposis (a hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome), and familial hypercholesterolemia which can cause high cholesterol and early heart attacks. In addition, 23andMe+ members will have the opportunity to share information related to select Pharmacogenetics Reports** when it is appropriate for their care plan. These reports focus on genetic variants that can impact how the customer may process certain medications.
Here are the reports that will be included in the first phase of this program:
- BRCA1/BRCA2 (Selected Variants) Genetic Health Risk Report*, looks at three genetic variants associated with increased risk for breast cancer (in women and men), ovarian cancer and possibly certain other cancers including prostate and pancreatic cancer.
- MUTYH-Associated Polyposis (MAP) Genetic Health Risk Report*, looks at two genetic variants associated with an increased risk for colorectal cancer.
- Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH) Genetic Health Risk Report*, looks at two dozen genetic variants linked to FH which increases the risk of high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, and premature heart attacks.
How it Works
23andMe customers will be able to connect with Lemonaid Health directly through one of these reports. From there they’ll be able to schedule a consultation with one of Lemonaid’s physicians or nurse practitioners.
A customer can choose to share their 23andMe report data with the Lemonaid Health clinician conducting the consultation. Alternatively, customers can decide to consult with a clinician without sharing their data, and simply discuss their reports or family health history. In either process, the customer and clinician consultation remains confidential. Customers will also have the option to discuss two 23andMe Pharmacogenetics (PGt) reports** (only available to 23andMe+ members) with a doctor or nurse practitioner within the context of the above conditions. 23andMe’s Pharmacogenetics Reports look at how a customer’s DNA may impact the way they process certain medications.
The initial consultation will be $65, and focuses on helping an individual understand their 23andMe reports in the context of their own health and family history, and what next steps they could take. The discussion will focus on the interplay of genetics along with how their own personal and family health history influences the risk of developing a disease. Confirmatory testing could be recommended at the first consultation.
Follow-up virtual visits will be $110 after that initial visit. Trained in genetic health concepts, the Lemonaid team may coordinate additional confirmatory testing if necessary or recommend specialist referrals, or they may simply help customers better understand their reports and next steps. Initially, the consultations will be by phone, and reachable through the 23andMe iOS app, Web, and Mobile Web. The service is currently not available on Android devices.
Find Out More
This first step in enabling 23andMe customers to access individualized care powered by genetics delivers on 23andMe’s mission to ensure people can benefit from the human genome.
Find out more about what 23andMe offers here.
*The 23andMe PGS test uses qualitative genotyping to detect select clinically relevant variants in the genomic DNA of adults from saliva for the purpose of reporting and interpreting genetic health risks. It is not intended to diagnose any disease. Your ethnicity may affect the relevance of each report and how your genetic health risk results are interpreted. Each genetic health risk report describes if a person has variants associated with a higher risk of developing a disease, but does not describe a person’s overall risk of developing the disease. The test is not intended to tell you anything about your current state of health, or to be used to make medical decisions, including whether or not you should take a medication, how much of a medication you should take, or determine any treatment. Warnings & Limitations: The 23andMe PGS Genetic Health Risk Report for BRCA1/BRCA2 (Selected Variants) is indicated for reporting of the 185delAG and 5382insC variants in the BRCA1 gene and the 6174delT variant in the BRCA2 gene. The report describes if a woman is at increased risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer, and if a man is at increased risk of developing breast cancer or may be at increased risk of developing prostate cancer. The three variants included in this report are most common in people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent and do not represent the majority of BRCA1/BRCA2 variants in the general population. The MUTYH-Associated Polyposis Genetic Health Risk Report is indicated for reporting the Y179C and G396D variants in the MUTYH gene and an increased risk for colorectal cancer. The two variants included in this report are most common in people of Northern European descent. These reports do not include variants in other genes linked to hereditary cancers and the absence of variants included in these reports do not rule out the presence of other genetic variants that may impact cancer risk. The PGS test is not a substitute for visits to a healthcare professional for recommended screenings or appropriate follow-up. Results should be confirmed in a clinical setting before taking any medical action. For important information and limitations regarding other genetic health risk reports visit https://www.23andme.com/test-info.
**23andMe PGS Pharmacogenetics reports: The 23andMe test uses qualitative genotyping to detect 3 variants in the CYP2C19 gene, 2 variants in the DPYD gene, and 1 variant in the SLCO1B1 gene in the genomic DNA of adults from saliva for the purpose of reporting and interpreting information about the processing of certain therapeutics to inform discussions with a healthcare professional. It does not describe if a person will or will not respond to a particular therapeutic and does not describe the association between detected variants and any specific therapeutic. Our CYP2C19 Pharmacogenetics report provides certain information about variants associated with the metabolism of some therapeutics and provides interpretive drug information regarding the potential effect of citalopram and clopidogrel therapy. Results for SLCO1B1 and DPYD and certain CYP2C19 results should be confirmed by an independent genetic test prescribed by your own healthcare provider before taking any medical action. Warning: Test information should not be used to start, stop, or change any course of treatment and does not test for all possible variants that may affect metabolism or protein function. The PGS test is not a substitute for visits to a healthcare professional. Making changes to your current regimen can lead to harmful side effects or reduced intended benefits of your medication, therefore consult with your healthcare professional before taking any medical action. For important information and limitations regarding Pharmacogenetics reports, visit 23andme.com/test-info/pharmacogenetics/