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14-Nov-2018

Jefferson To Offer Free Genetic Testing To Employees

Jefferson To Offer Free Genetic Testing To Employees Partnership with Color brings together Jefferson's expertise with Color's innovative software

PR Newswire

PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 14, 2018

PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 14, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Jefferson is partnering with the genetic testing company, Color, in a pilot project that will give its 30,000 employees the ability to access their genetic information, including their hereditary risk for medical conditions such as cancer and heart disease.

The genetic testing capabilities provided by Color will come at no out-of-pocket cost to employees.

"There is a consumer revolution happening in many industries, but there seems to be a disconnect in adopting new, disruptive changes when it comes to health care, and Color Genomics is a great example of that" said Stephen K. Klasko, MD, MBA, President of Thomas Jefferson University and CEO Jefferson Health. "Jefferson has an almost 200-year-old history. In using our tested knowledge while thinking like a start-up company by partnering with a cutting-edge genomics company, we can unlock the key to personalizing health care in a way that patients can make informed decisions."

Karen Knudsen, PhD, Enterprise Director of the NCI-Designated Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital said the partnership between Jefferson and Color is unique because it brings the data/software solutions provided by Color together with two options for employees to access free genetic counseling: Color's board-certified, licensed genetic counselors, or Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson's board-certified, licensed cancer genetic providers. Here, a model has been designed to expand access to genetic testing by joining Color's genetic education materials used for at-home testing with the option to see a genetic counselor in-person to address concerns and discuss results. Other at-home genetic tests don't tether together the innovation in genetic testing with Academic Medical Center-based genetics program.  

"Employees can benefit from Color's genetic education resources as well as opt to seek consultation with our cancer genetic counselors for responsible implementation of greater access to genetic testing," Dr. Knudsen said.

Color's solution is also more robust than many other at-home genetics testing kits. With a simple saliva sample, Color's kits will analyze:

  • 30 cancer-risk genes, mutations in which could increase the likelihood of developing hereditary breast, ovarian, colorectal, uterine, pancreatic, melanoma, stomach or prostate cancers;
  • 30 genes commonly associated with hereditary heart conditions that can have actionable treatment plans, including cardiomyopathies, arrhythmias, arteriopathies and hereditary high cholesterol;
  • 14 genes associated with the metabolism of commonly used drugs for which genetics can help inform drug use and dosage to help improve medication efficacy and minimize negative side effects; and
  • Your DNA on an ongoing basis to help you learn more about common traits influenced by your genes, such as lactose intolerance and alcohol flush.

Test results are analyzed in Color's CLIA-certified and CAP-accredited lab using Next Generation Sequencing technology. The partnership includes complimentary – and confidential - access to Color's team of board certified genetic counselors and clinical pharmacists to help them understand their results, provide information through Color's online portal about national guidelines associated with the genes tested and to connect employees with other experts, if necessary.

Millions of people in the U.S. are affected by serious, but clinically actionable conditions related to hereditary cancer and heart disease, identified by the Center for Disease Control as "Tier 1 genomic applications." However, less than 10% are aware of their risk. Understanding risk for hereditary cancer, heart disease as well as how genes impact the way your body metabolizes medication can empower individuals and their doctors with the right information to make the best decisions for their healthcare.

"Color is proud to partner with Jefferson Health to support its innovative approach to employee health," said Othman Laraki, Color's CEO. "We have seen firsthand the potentially life-saving benefits of empowering people with knowledge of their genetic risk for hereditary conditions and look forward to providing these services to Jefferson's employees."

About Jefferson Health
Jefferson Health, home of Sidney Kimmel Medical College, is reimagining health care in the greater Philadelphia region and southern New Jersey. Jefferson's dedicated team of doctors, nurses, health professionals and staff provides a range of primary to highly-specialized care through 14 hospitals (seven Magnet®-designated for nursing excellence), more than 40 outpatient and urgent care locations, the NCI-designated Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Magee Rehabilitation and the JeffConnect® telemedicine program. U.S. News & World Report recognizes Jefferson's academic health center, Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals, Inc., with 10 specialties receiving a national ranking for the 2018-2019 report.  Jefferson Health's mission is to improve the health of those patients and communities it is privileged to serve through safe, effective, equitable, compassionate care.

About Color

Color is a population health service powered by genomics. Through Color's clinical-grade sequencing, software and analytics platform, it is now simple and affordable to deliver the promise of population-scale genomics. Color enables people around the world to have access to their genetic information for conditions such as hereditary risk for cancer, heart disease, and medication management as well as other important health areas. Individuals provide a simple saliva sample and get access to an ongoing service that provides tools and insights to manage key aspects of their long-term health. Large populations such as employers (Visa, Salesforce, SAP, dozens of others) and health systems (including UCSF, Jefferson and University of Chicago) partner with Color to bring genetics and preventive health to their populations in a streamlined and integrated way. Learn more at color.com.

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SOURCE Jefferson Health

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Last Updated: 14-Nov-2018