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Precision Medicine

Many medications and treatments were designed with a one-size-fits-all approach that doesn’t account for individual differences. However, Ochsner Health precision medicine takes an innovative approach to tailor your healthcare to your unique combination of genes, environment and lifestyle.

Precision medicine, often called personalized medicine, is a state-of-the-art approach that allows your doctors in Louisiana and the Mississippi Gulf Coast to use genetic tests and screenings to provide exceptional, individualized care.

With precision medicine, you can receive:

  • Disease prevention recommendations that are unique to you

  • Early cancer detection and targeted treatment options

  • Improved personalized medicine recommendations, including targeted cancer therapies

  • More complete understanding of your risk factors for developing certain cancers and genetic conditions

Why choose precision medicine at Ochsner?

Ochsner leads the way with the only dedicated precision medicine team in the region. Our precision medicine team works closely with doctors, genetic counselors and other specialists in Ochsner clinics, hospitals and labs throughout the area. These partnerships make leading-edge care convenient by allowing us to bring our customized approach and testing options to you.

Each type of cancer contains different genes. Genes are made up of DNA. Cancer DNA, also known as circulating tumor DNA, is the specific DNA found in cancer cells and tumors, and this is different from the DNA you inherited from your parents. Somatic testing, also called next-generation sequencing, looks at the circulating tumor DNA. This can help your oncologist choose the most effective treatment options for your cancer type.

Who should have somatic testing?

Somatic testing, which usually involves a tissue sample and a blood sample, can be done as soon as you receive a cancer diagnosis or after starting treatment. Some people have somatic testing more than once.

This type of testing may be beneficial if:

  • It’s unclear what part of your body the cancer started in

  • The cancer isn’t responding to treatment or stops responding to treatment

  • You have lung cancer at any stage or other types of cancer at an advanced stage

Your doctor can order somatic testing. Talk with your oncologist to determine if testing is right for you.

Somatic testing cost

Billing and payment are done through Tempus, Ochsner’s testing partner. Tempus offers financial assistance for those who qualify, and the cost is $100 or less out-of-pocket if you’re approved for financial assistance. To learn more about the cost and financial assistance, call 800-739-4137.

Cancer risk assessment and genetic testing is a two-part process. First, your doctor or a genetic counselor will ask specific questions about your family and personal medical history to assess your cancer risk. Based on your risk assessment, genetic testing may be ordered.

A genetic test checks your DNA to see if you have specific genes or gene abnormalities that may increase your risk of developing cancer.

Genetic testing is done through a blood sample or a cheek swab, also called a buccal swab.

There are several types of genetic tests available. Your doctor or genetic counselor will help you decide which is best for you.

No matter your results, it’s essential to know that having a gene or gene variant linked to an increased cancer risk does not mean you will have cancer. It only shows an increased risk. Similarly, you may develop cancer even if you don’t have any genes or gene variants known to increase the risk of cancer.

Who should consider a cancer risk assessment and genetic testing?

Genetic testing may be a good choice for you if you have:

  • A blood relative who has been diagnosed with:
  • Multiple blood relatives who have been diagnosed with the same type of cancer

The cost of cancer risk assessment and genetic testing

The cost of a cancer risk assessment and genetic testing depends on your insurance.

When cancer grows in the body, tiny bits of it can break off and enter the bloodstream. Multi-cancer early detection testing uses a blood test to look for evidence of these tumor pieces in the blood, which can help detect cancer early. In most cases, the earlier cancer is detected, the easier it is to treat.

The Galleri multi-cancer early detection test used at Ochsner can check for more than 50 kinds of cancer, including many that can’t be detected through other cancer screenings.

Who benefits from this testing?

You may benefit from multi-cancer early detection testing if you are 50 or older or have a medical history that increases your risk of developing cancer.

The cost of multi-cancer early detection testing

This type of testing is currently not covered by insurance. The cost of testing is $800.

Medications are made with the average patient in mind. This works well in most cases. However, learning which drugs may work best for your body or are likely to cause side effects is helpful in many situations. Pharmacogenomic testing, or PGx testing, uses a blood sample to check and see if you have specific changes in your DNA that can affect how some medications may work for you.

Your doctor may recommend PGx testing if you:

  • Are prescribed a blood thinner, or anticoagulant medication

  • Have a history of medication side effects

  • Need anesthesia for surgery

  • Plan to receive chemotherapy to treat cancer

  • Take medicine for a mental health condition

Ask your doctor to order a pharmacogenomic test, or PGx test. If you have questions, talk with your doctor or call 504-703-GENE (4363).

The cost of pharmacogenomic testing

Insurance may cover the cost of testing. Our partner lab, OneOme, can help determine if your insurance will cover it. OneOme also offers financial assistance for people who qualify.

In most cases, you’ll pay under $100 out of pocket. The most you’ll be required to pay is $350.

Call 844-663-6635 to find out how much the test will cost you before you have it done.

There are many different things to think about when you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Genetic testing is one of them. Pregnancy-related genetic testing may include:

  • Carrier screening. This type of genetic testing, which can be done before or during pregnancy, looks at the parents’ DNA to determine if either carries genes that might increase the chance a baby may have a congenital disability or genetic condition.

  • Prenatal genetic screenings. These screenings combine the results of the pregnant woman’s blood tests with ultrasound exams that look at fetal development in the womb. The screenings can help determine if a fetus is at a higher risk of having a congenital disability or a genetic condition. However, these screenings can’t diagnose a condition.

  • Diagnostic prenatal genetic testing. This type of genetic testing happens during pregnancy. Diagnostic prenatal genetic testing looks at either cells from the developing fetus or the placenta to determine if the fetus has a congenital disability or genetic condition. The cells are collected through amniocentesis with a sample of amniotic fluid, or with chorionic villus sampling with a tissue sample from the placenta. This testing is only recommended if prenatal genetic screenings show a potential concern.

Preconception and prenatal screenings and tests are done either through your OB/GYN office or by a genetic counselor. Your doctor or genetic counselor will walk you through your options, offer counseling and emotional support, and connect you with additional resources, if needed. Ochsner’s maternal fetal medicine program has a genetic counselor who specializes in preconception and prenatal screening and testing.

Who benefits from preconception and prenatal testing

You may benefit from carrier screening if you:

  • Are age 35 or older

  • Experience infertility issues

  • Have had recurrent miscarriages

You may also benefit from carrier screening if you and your partner share a common ancestor, such as a grandparent, or if either of you:

  • Are a known carrier of a gene or gene variant linked to a congenital disability or genetic condition

  • Are concerned about a genetic condition due to ethnicity

  • Have a family or personal history of a chromosomal abnormality, congenital disability or genetic condition

  • Were exposed to environmental factors or medications during pregnancy that have been linked to congenital disability or genetic conditions

The cost of preconception and prenatal testing

The cost of these tests depends on your doctor or genetic counselor’s recommendations, which screenings or tests are done and your insurance coverage.

Ochsner provides comprehensive genetic evaluations, testing and services to adults and children with a known or suspected genetic condition.

During a genetic evaluation at Ochsner, you will meet with a board-certified medical geneticist and a genetic counselor who will:

  • Ask about your family and personal medical history

  • Do a physical exam

  • Order lab tests based on your medical history and exam results

They will also provide follow-up care once any test results are received.

You may be able to complete some visits via telemedicine.

Ask your doctor for a referral or call the Ochsner Genetics Clinic at 504-842-3900.

Who benefits from a genetic evaluation?

A genetic evaluation may be beneficial for people who:

  • Are diagnosed with a known genetic condition

  • Are suspected of having a genetic condition

  • Have a family history of a genetic condition

  • Have questions about previous genetic testing

  • Want preconception carrier screenings

The cost of evaluation

The cost of a genetic evaluation depends on your care team’s recommendations and your insurance coverage.

Our precision medicine experts work to bring personalized medicine to you by collaborating with other Ochsner specialists, including:

  • Cardiologists

  • Infectious disease doctors

  • Neurologists

  • Obstetricians and gynecologists (OB/GYNs)

  • Oncologists

  • Pain management physicians

  • Psychiatrists

  • Primary care physicians

We work closely with doctors throughout Ochsner to find the best healthcare solutions for you based on your one-of-a-kind combination of environment, genetics, lifestyle, medical history and preferences.

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