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To the Right Patients...

Health insurance giant Aetna is funding a study of whether women who should be offered genetic screening tests for breast and ovarian cancer risk are indeed being offered the tests, reports the Wall Street Journal's Health Blog. The blog points out that a 2005 JAMA study found racial disparities in the use of the test — the JAMA article says that differences "do not appear to be explained by differences in risk factors for carrying a BRCA1/2 mutation, socioeconomic factors, risk perception, attitudes, or primary care physician recommendations."
Aetna Foundation President Ann Beal noted in a statement that "there is valid concern that some women are receiving this test unnecessarily, while others, particularly among racial and ethnic minorities, as well as poorer women, should be receiving these critical tests and are not." According to our sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News, Georgetown University, the University of South Florida, and the American Cancer Society will sort through de-identified data from about 13,000 Aetna members who receive BRCA testing and then will study the risk-reduction and screening services patients use after being tested.

The Scan

Study Finds Few FDA Post-Market Regulatory Actions Backed by Research, Public Assessments

A Yale University-led team examines in The BMJ safety signals from the US FDA Adverse Event Reporting System and whether they led to regulatory action.

Duke University Team Develops Programmable RNA Tool for Cell Editing

Researchers have developed an RNA-based editing tool that can target specific cells, as they describe in Nature.

Novel Gene Editing Approach for Treating Cystic Fibrosis

Researchers in Science Advances report on their development of a non-nuclease-based gene editing approach they hope to apply to treat cystic fibrosis.

Study Tracks Responses in Patients Pursuing Polygenic Risk Score Profiling

Using interviews, researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics qualitatively assess individuals' motivations for, and experiences with, direct-to-consumer polygenic risk score testing.