NEW YORK – Genomic Testing Cooperative (GTC) began a program on Tuesday to address disparities in access to precision medicine for minority, low-income, or LGBTQ patients by offering free molecular profiling for cancer patients who may not have insurance that covers testing.
GTC will donate 5 percent of its annual testing volume to the program. The company will offer comprehensive molecular profiling (DNA and RNA) to patients nominated by their physicians. GTC will also help physicians determine the best treatment for their patients or help enroll them in clinical trials.
Data collected within the free testing program will be de-identified and made available to researchers who are developing personalized cancer treatments for minority patient groups. GTC is also establishing a fund for others to donate to the program.
"Minority patients are not adequately represented in the process for developing innovative medicine nor in the implementation of state-of-the-art medicine," GTC CEO and Chief Medical Officer Maher Albitar said in a statement. "As a diagnostic company, we are doing our part by defining the precise molecular abnormalities that can be targeted but having access to the expensive targeted therapy is a different struggle. We are hoping that pharmaceutical companies will join our effort and do their part in providing the appropriate drugs to these patients and will develop a mechanism to recruit them in their clinical trials."
GTC, based in Irvine, California, offers next-generation sequencing for both solid tumors and hematologic neoplasms. The company partners with both small and large hospitals with its cooperative model. Smaller labs can send samples to GTC's lab in California for testing and, for larger partners, GTC sets up a lab on site to conduct sequencing and analysis.