Counsyl’s New Expanded Inherited Cancer Screen Allows Clinicians to Identify Women at Elevated Cancer Risk Who Would have Otherwise Been Missed

Customizable 22-gene cancer panel, on-demand counseling, and streamlined workflow enable clinicians to test and identify more at-risk patients and provide better preventive care

SAN FRANCISCO--()--Counsyl, a health technology company that offers DNA screening for diseases that can impact women, men, and their children, has expanded its Inherited Cancer Screen and is making hereditary cancer screening broadly accessible to all at-risk patients, not just those who meet strict eligibility guidelines or can afford expensive testing. The Counsyl Inherited Cancer Screen offers a 22-gene panel associated with significant cancer risks and backed by guidelines for those who test positive, leading to actionable information. Counsyl’s commitment to accessible, high-quality testing paired with on-demand genetic counseling and workflow tools allows clinicians to provide important, potentially life-saving preventive care to more people.

Counsyl’s expanded cancer screen comes at a time when more researchers are questioning the value of waiting until a cancer diagnosis to offer screening. Studies indicate that more than 70% of BRCA carriers with ovarian cancer would not have qualified for genetic testing before their diagnosis. “That’s a huge miss,” said Ramji Srinivasan, co-founder and CEO at Counsyl. “Many women only learn their genetic status after a diagnosis because they didn’t fall within a narrow set of risk guidelines, notes Srinivasan. “A woman should not have to be diagnosed with a deadly cancer in order to access information that could have saved her life.”

Last year Dr. Mary-Clare King, Lasker Award Winner and discoverer of the BRCA1 mutation, asserted that all women should be offered inherited cancer screening in their childbearing years. This was based on research that demonstrated that 50% of BRCA carriers do not have sufficient family history to qualify for testing. Counsyl’s screening includes BRCA1 and BRCA2, as well as other critical genes associated with breast, ovarian and gynecological cancers. The 22-gene panel also looks at genes associated with Lynch syndrome, another often overlooked hereditary cause of ovarian, colon and endometrial cancers. A positive result for any of the genes analyzed provides patients and doctors with clinically actionable information that can be used to develop a personalized cancer prevention program.

Counsyl estimates 25 people everyday are diagnosed with a BRCA or Lynch syndrome cancer who did not learn of their carrier status until diagnosis. "In my practice, I can now offer an affordable screening option to women at risk of developing cancer who previously didn’t have access," said Dr. Genevieve Fairbrother, an obstetrician practicing in Atlanta. (OBGYN of Atlanta)

In keeping with Counsyl’s commitment to high-quality patient care, Counsyl includes with each Inherited Cancer Screen a consultation with a board-certified genetic counselor who is available on-demand, giving patients instant access to experts rather than making them wait days or weeks to schedule an appointment. The counseling team — which is comprised of experienced genetic counselors with an average of 8 years of clinical experience before joining Counsyl — has engaged in over 10,000 hours of sessions to date. The genetic counselors help explain the results and provide guidance on next steps in conjunction with the patient’s physician.

“We recognize that patients want their physicians involved in such personal decisions about their health, and we do everything we can to make sure the ordering physician is kept abreast of conversations between their patient and our genetic counselor,” said Dr. Jim Goldberg, Chief Medical Officer at Counsyl.

In addition to the Inherited Cancer Screen, Counsyl offers two other types of genetic screens, all of which require a doctor’s involvement. The Family Prep Screen looks at parents DNA for serious inherited diseases that they can unknowingly pass on to their future children. With access to this information, couples can better prepare as they look to grow their family. The Informed Pregnancy Screen provides early insight into a baby’s genetic development using non-invasive methods and can be performed in the first trimester.

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About Counsyl:

Counsyl is a health technology company that offers DNA screening for women, men, and their children. Their philosophy is simple: focus on diseases where advanced knowledge makes a difference in health outcomes, whether it’s changing a behavior, pursuing preventative measures, or simply preparing for what lies ahead.

The Counsyl team includes an accomplished group of problem-solvers — top engineers, scientists, and designers — who are taking the lead on building the modern clinical laboratory. By using automation technology and software to reimagine the clinical lab, Counsyl has unlocked a scalable platform that generates more meaningful health insights for a fraction of the cost at industry-leading speed. Counsyl pairs this high tech approach with a high touch solution for delivering test results: patient reports created with a design sensibility, and supplemented with a genetic counseling service that rivals the top 10 US hospitals.

Counsyl has screened more than 450,000 patients and served over 8000 health care professionals in its CLIA-certified, CAP-accredited and NYS CLEP-permitted clinical laboratory. From the purely mechanical to the profoundly human, Counsyl strives to make DNA screening truly accessible to everyone.


Allison+Partners, for Counsyl
Linda Vejnoska, 415-875-3043


Allison+Partners, for Counsyl
Linda Vejnoska, 415-875-3043