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DNA Diagnostic Tests - Biogenetic Stocks that benefit
Old 06-03-2007, 03:31 PM   #1
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DNA Diagnostic Tests - Biogenetic Stocks that benefit

I just read this article on Forbes.com:
Quote:
Will You Get Cancer?
Matthew Herper and Robert Langreth 06.18.07
Full Story Here

For most of her adult life Kim I. Wolfe lived in constant fear of breast cancer. Her mother had survived the disease at age 37. By the time she turned 32, Kim was undergoing breast exams every three months. In 2003 her mother tested positive for a gene that dramatically raises the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. In 2005 Kim herself took the test, six months after the birth of the younger of her two sons.

And then she knew: She had the breast cancer gene, too. Yet she says she felt "relieved" and "empowered" by the verdict. In an eight-hour operation at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, she had her breasts and ovaries removed. Her reconstructed breasts "look real," she says, and she has had no second thoughts. "I feel a hundred bricks have been lifted off of me," she says. "The genetic testing is the most wonderful thing. You can look into a crystal ball and almost see your future and then do something about it."

The breast cancer gene test generates sales of $100 million a year for Myriad Genetics (nasdaq: MYGN - news - people ), which has sold it to 150,000 women. Sales are growing 40% a year; the first tv ads are planned for the fall...

Full Story Here
I think this is an interesting industry trend and many of these companies are going to make some serious dough. Please post other firms you read about that might be well positioned for this trend.
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Old 06-03-2007, 03:42 PM   #2
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I had read a bit about these in-depth tests (DNA and otherwise) and seen quite a bit of information that indicated, very counter intuitively, that they were more costly from a health perspective than not testing at all.

Apparently the average person may have all sorts of funny genes, cysts, defects and whatnot that they will usually live with through a full lifespan, completely unaware that they're 'defective'.

Once aware of the defects, the costs of stress over them and probable medical intrusions to solve an otherwise sleeping/benign problem may actually cause worse results than being blissfully unaware of them.


In the instance you mentioned, the woman in question would probably have lived a full life with no cancerous growths. But she felt the stress of not knowing.

I wonder what the weighted health "improvement" of such extensive surgery will be vs the old "worry". And how many other women might be propelled to perform the same drastic surgery once they "know". Between 40 and 85% of women who test positive for the gene will develop breast cancer.
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Old 06-03-2007, 04:54 PM   #3
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I have read the same thing, especially about Full Body Cat Scans. I think the biggest driver is going to be a few simple psychological principles. Fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD @ Wikipedia) are powerful emotional drivers of so many things in modern society. Whether these tests are right or wrong, only time will tell. I would venture to guess that this niche is going to grow at a blistering pace.

I don't think there will be significant marketing trying to prevent these tests although I think the providers of these tests will be working hard to promote their products. I think they will incorporate FUD tactics into their campaign and watch the money roll it.

Does anyone else know of any other companies that do (or will be in very soon) offering DNA Diagnostic Tests? How about a Biotech Fund that specializes in investments that already have tests in the market?
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Old 06-03-2007, 05:18 PM   #4
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Perhaps the big pop to watch from this isnt in the testing, but the massive surge in surgeries and the hit to insurance company's bottom lines.


I can tell you how the "full body" tests worked out when I had a good front row seat. A couple of outfits went through my dads retirement community and left fliers on everyones doors. A lot of people signed up. Some local papers ran some stories and had some feedback from area doctors that pooh-poohed the whole thing. A lot of the people who had the tests done took the results to their doctors, who almost universally talked them out of any other drastic action. My dad showed six 'spots', calcium deposits and other sundry items. Worries about all of them. Isnt doing anything about them.

How that works with a bunch of 20-50-somethings instead of depression era penny pinching 70-90 year olds may be a different story.

I think the surer bet is a ding to the insurers who at a minimum will be seeing a surge in visits to the primary care physician after the tests are run, and a lot of fending off of elective surgical claims.

A plus side bet might be for elective surgical chains.

Not sure about the plus side of the testing companies. The equipment is expensive, and the liability must be enormous.
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Old 06-03-2007, 05:45 PM   #5
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Generally, shotgun testing like full body scans in asymptomatic patients results in many more "false positives" or "incidental findings" than meaningful findings which benefit from the early detection.

Such incidental findings are not always benign in their implications - a little nodule in the lung or liver, for example, might lead to biopsies which, in turn, lead to infrequent but predictable serious complications -- though they may have been nothing more than an old scar or benign cyst or growth.

Those will hit perhaps a year or two after the shotgun technology stock takes off. My prediction if you invest in that technology would lead me to get out fast then.
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As if you didn't know..If the above message contains medical content, it's NOT intended as advice, and may not be accurate, applicable or sufficient. Don't rely on it for any purpose. Consult your own doctor for all medical advice.
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