Williams v Quest/Athena

In Williams v Quest/Athena, a federal district court judge has asked the highest state court to clarify if a genetic testing lab is a licensed healthcare provider.

Judge Margaret Seymour held a hearing to better understand the facts of the case before deciding whether it should go forward.

Experts pointed out the lack of clarity in professional standards and regulations when it comes to dealing with genetic variation in patient care. 

A high-profile, independent committee is considering the liability issues impacting labs as genetic testing increasingly becomes integrated into patient care.

It is now up to Margaret Seymour, a senior judge in US District Court in the District of South Carolina, whether Williams' case should be dismissed or decided by a jury.

The affidavit from pediatric neurologist Max Wiznitzer is part of a plan by Amy Williams' lawyers to convince the court to take up their client's case.

In response to the plaintiff's amended complaint, Quest and Athena have filed a new motion to dismiss making similar arguments focused on statute of limitations and repose.

Williams is within the time frame in which she can sue, her lawyers maintain, since she didn't know about the lab's "mistake" until last year.

The companies want the court to dismiss Williams' case because the statute of limitations has expired and the "plaintiff does not have a viable claim for relief."

The companies filed a notice to move the case to the South Carolina District Court and said in response to interrogatories that the deceased child's doctors may be liable.

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While gene therapies may have high price tags, they could be cheaper than the cost of managing disease, according to MIT's Technology Review.

Researchers are looking for markers that indicate which cancer patients may respond to immunotherapies, the Associated Press writes.

In Nature this week: paternal age associated with de novo mutations in children, and more.

Nature News writes that researchers are still wrangling over the role of the p-value.