Geisinger to Make DNA Sequencing Routine Care

GEISINGER MEDICAL CENTER -- As doctors learn more about genetics and DNA, they are able to use that knowledge to treat patients.

In 2014, Geisinger started "MyCode," a genetics project. More than 100,000 Geisinger patients have voluntarily had their DNA sequenced as part of MyCode. In some of those people, the tests showed they were more susceptible to cancer.

"We've reported that medically important actionable result to over 550 Geisinger patients," Dr. David Ledbetter said.

Dr. David Ledbetter tells Newswatch 16 since Geisinger has had such promising results with MyCode, it is taking things a step further.

"We need to transition from a research framework and move it into routine clinical care," Ledbetter said.

Geisinger is unveiling a pilot project with around 1,000 patients whose DNA will be sequenced in a clinical lab.

Dr.Ledbetter believes this will save lives and one person who agrees is Kim Mummert of Williamsport.

"The more you can be proactive rather than reactive to a situation, I think it's all worth it," Mummert said.

Mummert is a patient at Geisinger and a MyCode participant.

"Much to my surprise, I did get a phone call and a letter that I have what is called Lynch Syndrome," Mummert said.

Mummert found out her adult children also carry the gene that makes them susceptible to colorectal cancer, and now they all get yearly colonoscopies.

When it comes to privacy, Dr. Ledbetter tells Newswatch 16 Geisinger will not share any of the information.

The only people with access to the information will be specially trained and credentialed data brokers.

"If we want to use any of your clinical data for research purposes, it's D identified so nobody knows the individual," Ledbetter said.

Geisinger hopes to start the pilot project in July. Participants will be current Geisinger patients from all throughout the region. The program is free for all participants.