WHAT IS WHOLE EXOME SEQUENCING (WES)?
Whole Exome Sequencing (WES) analyzes every known human gene, providing valuable information about individual disease risks such as cancer, neurological conditions, and some forms of cardiovascular disease. The report from Panacea focuses on scientifically validated and well understood genes—those with known risks and many with available medical interventions—enabling individuals to take proactive measures with physician oversight and expert genetic counseling all in one place.
HOW IS WES DIFFERENT FROM 23ANDME’S GENETIC TESTING?
Popular direct-to-consumer companies like 23andMe* provide no medical expert guidance. In addition, they don’t offer CLINICAL testing. They don’t sequence your genes. They only search for a limited number of gene mutations, missing medically relevant changes they’re not specifically searching for. This incomplete picture can be likened to finishing only 20 pieces of a 1,000-piece puzzle, leaving out vital details. Whole Exome Sequencing, however, sequences all known genes to ensure everything is examined. Panacea connects you to a certified genetic counselor to review any known genetic risks, and you can obtain your raw data, at no cost, for further analysis in specialized software, like Promethease*.
*Panacea is not affiliated with 23andMe or Promethease
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WHO SHOULD GET WES?
Any adult who wants to prevent disease and learn their own personal risk of having and/or passing on certain genetic conditions to their children should consider having WES. The results of genetic testing are not only valuable for the person being tested, but it also provides valuable risk information for parents, siblings and offspring. In addition, some studies are showing that about half of the people with genetic mutations that impact their health have no family history of disease, underscoring the importance for more people to get tested whether the have a family history of disease or not.
WHAT CAN I DO WITH THE RESULTS OF MY TEST?
Although our scientific understanding of genetics is still in its infancy, many genes are well understood by science and several are “actionable” or have available medical interventions to help reduce the risk brought on by changes in those genes. Reviewing these results with a genetic counselor and physician aids in identifying areas for personalized medical care. Different genetic changes carry varying risks for specific diseases, clarifying your susceptibility. Tailoring your medical management allows for proactive and preventative care, like additional imaging or adjusting medications. You can obtain your raw data, containing all of your exome data at no extra cost, for continual analysis as science advances.
WHERE CAN I GET WES?
WES is a clinical test and requires the prescription of a doctor. Today, WES is used as a diagnostic tool when someone has an active problem, but it is rarely used for prevention. In fact, genetic testing in general is not widely used by doctors for prevention, mostly because insurance coverage for testing is sparse. Panacea is bringing Whole Exome Sequencing directly to you. We are partnering with US CLIA and CAP certified genetic laboratories, genetic counselors, and physicians to make this life-changing genetic information accessible without you even leaving your home or needing health insurance. You can fill out forms, purchase a kit, and schedule your free 1-hr genetic counseling session all directly with us.
HOW MUCH DOES WES COST?
Whole Exome Sequencing is significantly underutilized due to high costs and limited insurance coverage. The average WES test today is $9K, not including physician oversight or genetic counseling. Panacea aims to increase access to and usage of Whole Exome Sequencing by partnering with efficient labs, genetic counselors, and physicians to reduce costs.
We offer Whole Exome Sequencing, a clinical report, raw data, expert guidance and more for just $1,000.
HOW ACCURATE IS WES?
WES is currently utilized in diagnostics and medical research and Panacea is bringing it to you as a powerful preventative tool. Panacea only partners with clinical laboratories that have CAP and CLIA certifications. This ensures the highest quality laboratory testing. While industry standard for WES has 30x depth of coverage, our lab partners offer 80x, which means that each section of your genes is reviewed ~80 times on average. In addition, the sensitivity and specificity of WES through our lab partners is >99%.
WHAT DISEASE RISKS CAN BE IDENTIFIED?
WES is only as advanced as our current understanding of genetics. Today, we can identify gene changes in a single gene, BRCA 1 for example, that are directly linked to an increased risk of disease. Many diseases are linked to changes in only one gene. However, there are several complex diseases that are caused by changes in multiple genes. Diseases like diabetes, autoimmune disorders and most cardiovascular disease cases are complex and not well understood. These are not the disease risks that are currently identifiable with genetic testing. In addition, it is important to note that some identifiable changes known to increase risk for disease have no available medical interventions (non-actionable), but may be helped with lifestyle changes.
WHAT WILL MY REPORT SHOW?
The best case scenario is that your report is completely empty- the less found, the better! However, if something is found, the goal of the report is to arm you with useful, reliable and accurate information so that you can lower your disease risk, when possible. This is why our lab partners adhere strictly to evidence-based science in the curation of all Whole Exome reports. They follow the guidance and knowledge base of reputable and trusted sources of genomic science like the the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), ClinVar and many others. That means every report reveals only well understood and well studied genetic changes that are known to cause or increase the risk for disease. This may contain actionable information or gene risks that have medically available interventions so that you can take action and lower your risks. It may also include non-actionable gene risks that have few or no current medical interventions, although this is less common. The report also reviews 15 of the most common carrier genes. If you want access to ALL of your exome data, please request your raw data and we will send it to you at no extra charge. You can then input your raw data in third-party software to produce a larger report- be mindful that this may show information that is still not well understood by science and has unknown significance or value.
There are very few laws that enforce health data privacy beyond HIPAA and many genetics companies share, sell and monetize your de-identified data. Our philosophy at Panacea is that your genetic data is YOUR GENETIC DATA, not ours. This is why Panacea doesn’t utilize your data after your test is completed without your knowledge and approval. If you do not approve, we simply don’t touch it. For your further protection, GINA is a federal law that prohibits your employer and health insurer from discriminating against you for your genetic results. GINA does NOT apply to life insurance in every state, so make sure you know the law in your state.
of people are willing to share their de-identified data, especially if they have transparency and control
WHAT DOES WES NOT DETECT?
WES is currently utilized as a tool to diagnose an existing inherited rare disease or to identify the risk of developing certain inherited diseases. Panacea promotes the use of WES as a preventative tool that identifies disease risk and susceptibility. It DOES NOT identify the existence of cancer in your body. It also does NOT guarantee that you will or will not develop a problem in the future because science has not yet identified the full function of all of our genes. It is simply an effective look at known hereditary disease risks that can help you prevent a problem from occurring if you carry those risks.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS OF WES?
Physical Risk: because the sampling method is a non-invasive mouth swab, the risk of infection or any other physical harm is extremely low.
Technical Risk: as mentioned above, CAP and CLIA certified labs using modern NGS technology have accuracy rates over 99%. While errors can occur, they are very rare.
Emotional/Mental Risk: this may be the largest of the three risks with genetic testing. Some results might seem overwhelming or scary. This is why we provide expert guidance with our genetic counseling partners to guide you with an effective action plan.
cancer diagnoses could be prevented with genetic testing every year
WHAT IS PANACEA DOING DIFFERENTLY?
Panacea is collaborating with labs, genetic counselors, and physicians to reduce cost and increase access to genetic testing and genomic healthcare by bringing clinical genetic testing directly to people. Despite the invaluable preventative measures that can be guided by clinical genetic testing, it is not commonly used as a preventative tool today – and Panacea is changing exactly that.
Part of the problem is that insurers don’t always cover genetic testing, especially for prevention, and it can be hard for physicians to integrate into their patient care, ultimately preventing people from being tested. Gone are the days of health insurance interference and people not knowing their options. ANYONE and everyone should have access to clinical-grade genetic testing and Panacea is making that a feasible, easily accessible, and cost-effective reality.
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We respect your privacy. We do not share your information with anyone outside of Panacea.