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Opioid Test Skepticism

Proove Biosciences has said that its genetic tests to determine opioid response and risk could help address the opioid crisis in the US, but the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that there's little evidence the tests work. As GenomeWeb has also reported, Proove's tests examine people's SNPs at cytochrome P450 as well as other genes to inform drug-prescribing practices, but that there are questions surrounding how predictive the tests are.

In particular, the Inquirer reports that experts are skeptical that addiction risk be gauged from gene variation. "It is hard to conceive of a genetic test or a genetic score that would be valuable as a predictor of opiate abuse or addiction in general," Michael Vanyukov from the University of Pittsburgh tells it. He adds that heredity plays a small role in addiction alongside the bigger influences of perception and personal choices.

The company says, though, that its opioid risk test, which is based on a dozen genes, is 93 percent accurate. However, as both the Inquirer and GenomeWeb note, Proove hasn't yet to publish its results, though it says that studies have been submitted to journals. Still, the Inquirer says that researchers from the nonprofit ECRI Institute looked over summaries of two studies the company presented at medical conferences, but couldn't determine if the test worked better than current tools at predicting abuse risk. "We can't say it doesn't work. All we can say is, there's no evidence it does," ECRI's Jeff Oristaglio says.

The Scan

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