Whole genome sequencing the “next big thing” in genetic testing
With technology having changed the genetic testing landscape “quite dramatically”, costs have fallen and the market as a whole is growing. In the UK, CooperGenomics and Igenomix are the two main players, although the expert emphasised that “there’s still more genetic technology to be found” and, importantly, their implications to be interpreted.
Recent progress on genetic testing has been led by next-generation sequencing. “That was a platform that was initially via Illumina… and also there are other platforms, like Thermo Fisher, they’ve got their own platform,” the specialist said. The next “big thing”, we heard, is whole genome sequencing, which is already being applied in other fields of medicine. “That’ll be even more powerful, so you’ll have much more data, and the problem with much more data is what you do with it, because you have to be able to understand it.”
At present, most genetic testing is achieved by taking a biopsy of embryos during IVF. After explaining the intricacies of this approach, and where the constroversies lie, the expert discussed uptake in the US and the UK. “In the US… it’s 40%, somewhere around there anyway, of all cycles, they’re genetic testing, in the UK, it’s only a few percent,” they said. With regulatory barriers being much higher in the UK, the specialist doesn’t foresee a significant UK shift in the near future.
We were also told that pre-implantation genetic tests for diagnosis and screening have been superseded by: preimplantation genetic testing for monogenic disorders (PGT-M); structural rearrangement (PGT-SR); and aneuploidy (PGT-A).
Overall, the Interview suggested that YoY growth in UK genetic testing of embryos will be relatively flat over the next five years. However, it’s certainly a field that is garnering significant interest and one that is continuously being accelerated by technology and science.
To access all the human insights in Third Bridge Forum’s IVF genetic testing – growth outlook & market dynamics – Part 1 Interview, click here to view the full transcript.
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