The Guardian reports that Mayo Clinic (“Mayo”) has announced that it is starting a pilot study to provide whole genome sequencing to patients. As reported, Mayo will launch the pilot study in early 2012 as part of an ambitious move towards an era of proactive genomics. Recall, Mayo Clinic is a named party in the legal challenge to Prometheus Laboratories’ patents on medical diagnostic methods. This challenge is currently awaiting resolution by the U.S. Supreme Court (see our December 7th post). 

Whole Genome Sequencing

The service is reportedly unique in that it will sequence a patient’s whole genome or a subset of genes that are known to be linked to disease. Another group of patients will be tested for 83 genes that govern how the body metabolizes a drug. A treating physician would then have the the patient’s complete genome at the time of diagnosis or treatment. Patients can decide how much genetic information they wish to know. Doctors will keep track of the patients and their subsequent prescriptions to see whether whole genome sequencing, or more limited genetic testing, benefits the patient or reduces the cost of treatment.