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The Diagnostics Bottleneck

Where's the personalized medicine? Cries for personalized medicine based on genomic discoveries have gotten louder and louder. But despite compelling research, personalized medicine has been slow to make its way to the clinic, says Pharmalot's Ed Silverman. The reason? "A lack of clinically useful diagnostics," he says. According to a new report from the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, many third-party payors have doubts about whether some tests are clinically useful, and many experts believe that the next five years will only see "moderate growth" in the development of companion diagnostics for already approved drugs, Silverman says. Most likely, the growth of co-developed diagnostics and personalized drugs will also be slow, according to the Tufts report. The list of FDA-approved companion diagnostics is short, and they are mostly partnered with drugs that treat cancer. Insurance companies are also denying or restricting reimbursement on many tests, Silverman adds.

Indeed, our sister publication Pharmacogenomics Reporter notes that the US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is still figuring out a payment structure for genetic tests.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.