April 21, 2015 – Challenges to DNA Analysis


Anchor lead: How can comparing normal and tumor DNA become the new standard? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Almost half of people with cancer whose tumor DNA has been analyzed would likely have had different treatments if a comparison with their noncancerous DNA had been made, a study by Victor Velculescu and colleagues at Johns Hopkins has shown. Velculescu identifies barriers to utilizing such an approach.

Velculescu: There are some challenges in implementing these types of approaches, one is just the logistics of getting additional normal tissue or normal DNA from a patient.  That’s actually not that hard because you can use not only blood or saliva in additional to normal tissue from the time of surgery.  The second part of this is there is an additional cost to doing the sequencing of the normal, it’s not actually twice as much but at the present time insurance companies don’t fully cover the cost of that additional sequencing.  :29

Velculescu predicts that emerging technologies will drive the price down and hopes that creation of databases of cancer and noncancerous DNA will streamline the process. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.