BURLINGAME, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--With current genetic tests for breast and ovarian cancer risk costing up to $4,000 or more, Color Genomics today announced the immediate availability of the Color Test: a clinical-grade, comprehensive genetic sequencing test at a more affordable price of $249. Color Genomics’ mission is to democratize access to genetic testing so that important genetic information is accessible to women and men in an affordable, high-quality way.
While most cancers occur for reasons other than family inheritance, at least 10-15%123 of breast and ovarian cancers have a genetic cause that is passed down through families. The best known of these familial cancer genes are BRCA1 and BRCA2. Women with a mutation in BRCA1 face up to an 80 percent risk of developing breast cancer, and up to a 50 percent risk of developing ovarian cancer by the age of 804.
The Color Test was developed and tested over the last two years by Color Genomics. The Silicon Valley company’s interdisciplinary team is composed of experts in computer science, distributed systems, machine learning, product design, genetics, and precision medicine from Google, Twitter, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of California at San Francisco, University of California at Berkeley, and Stanford University. Co-founders include Elad Gil, Ph.D., Othman Laraki, Taylor Sittler, M.D. and Nish Bhat.
“We founded Color because we want to give every person the opportunity to understand their genetic risk of cancer. This important information gives people the opportunity to work with their physician to manage their risk and make key life choices,” said Dr. Gil, Color’s CEO, formerly a cancer researcher at MIT and, more recently, a product and strategy executive at Twitter and Google.
The Color Test and Genetic Counseling Support
The Color Test analyzes the 19 major genes currently known to be responsible for inherited predisposition to breast and ovarian cancer, including BRCA1 and BRCA2. All Color tests are ordered by a physician—either a woman's physician or one designated by Color who will review her information and order testing on her behalf. More information on how to order a test can be found at www.getcolor.com.
“Building a high-quality, but affordable test required significant investments in software design, big data, bio-informatics, CLIA compliance, laboratory automation, and genetics,” said Laraki, Color’s President. “By marrying multiple emerging disciplines, we have developed something many did not think was possible - a high-quality, yet affordable, genetic test for BRCA1, BRCA2, and 17 other key genes.”
Color ensures that test results are provided to the ordering physician. Every Color Test also includes access to Color’s board-certified genetic counselors at no additional charge. Genetic counselors are available to explain and discuss results and answer any questions a woman may have.
“Once a woman understands her genetic risk, she can work with her healthcare provider to tailor a screening and prevention plan around her family and individual priorities,” said Color’s Dr. Sittler, a former pathologist at UCSF and co-founder of the company. “It is important for people to have the choice and opportunity to get tested.”
Color Genomics has been advised by some of the leading scientific minds in cancer genetics. Mary-Claire King, Ph.D., and Tom Walsh, Ph.D., both at the University of Washington, advise the company. Dr. King is the scientist who is credited with discovering BRCA1 and a 2014 winner of the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation award. In addition, leading breast cancer geneticists, genetic counselors and physicians from the University of California, San Francisco - Laura van't Veer, Ph.D., Beth Crawford, M.S., L.C.G.C., and Laura Esserman, M.D., M.B.A. - are also scientific collaborators who have helped drive Color’s thinking on genetic tests, genetic counseling, and risk-based genetic testing.
Every Woman Program
Also announced today by Color Genomics is the launch of the Every Woman Program, which will provide genetic testing to individuals who cannot otherwise afford it. As a first step, Color is partnering with major cancer centers including UCSF and UW to provide free testing to women who are unable to afford it today. Moreover, as part of the Color purchase process, women purchasing their own tests can choose to donate money to help support a woman who cannot afford testing.
“Together, we can make this valuable health information broadly accessible, irrespective of a woman’s financial status,” said Dr. Sittler.
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2 Pal T, Permuth-Wey J, Betts JA, et al. BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations account for a large proportion of ovarian carcinoma cases. Cancer. December 2005; 104(12):2807-16.
3 Risch HA, McLaughlin JR, Cole DE, et al. Prevalence and penetrance of germline BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations in a population series of 649 women with ovarian cancer. The American Journal of Human Genetics. March 2001; 68(3):700–10.
4 King MC, Marks JH, Mandell JB, New York Breast Cancer Study Group. Breast and ovarian cancer risks due to inherited mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2. Science. October 2003; 302(5645):643-6.