Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Jay Flatley On Sequencing, Cancer, and FDA

The San Diego Union-Tribune's Keith Darcé recently spoke with Illumina CEO Jay Flatley about the company's share in the sequencing market, its lowered whole-genome sequencing price, its plans to develop diagnostic tests for certain cancers, and its recent involvement with the US Food and Drug Administration's push to regulate DTC genetic testing. When asked by Darcé whether it's useful "at this point" for individuals to have their genomes sequences, Flatley says: "In some of these early situations we may have some chance of payoff, but the most likely case is that we won't" as more work needs to be done. In explaining why Illumina has chosen to focus on investigating ovarian and gastric cancers, Flatley says that the team "wanted to work on cancers where we could get reasonable access to samples ... as opposed to something like pancreatic cancer where it's very hard to get samples. They are so highly mutated by the time anyone detects them, sequencing doesn't tell you much." He adds that they chose to study "cancers that had not already been worked on by hundreds of other people." Finally, when it comes to recent conversations with FDA about DTC genetic testing, Flatley says "it's not that they want to shut this business down, as far as we can tell." Instead, he says, Illumina is working with the agency "to design a new paradigm" for testing for a broad set of predictive (disease markers) that nobody quite yet knows how to deal with. ... Nobody knows yet how it will work."

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.