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Lisa Letourneau Part 5, When Should Physicians Consider Genetic Testing

In part 5 of this Exclusive Interview, Lisa Letourneau talks with Diabetes in Control Publisher Steve Freed about when medical professionals should reach out for help regarding diagnosing monogenic diabetes and the possible costs involved.

Lisa Letourneau MPH, RD, LDN, is a dietitian and diabetes & genetics clinical research manager at the University of Chicago.

Transcript of this video segment:

Freed: So, why should health care providers refer patients to the University of Chicago and what should they be aware of as far as where they should send them, as far as if they’re having difficulties in controlling blood sugars? I mean, there’s got to be some specific things that the physician could say, “It’s time that I send you out to the University of Chicago where they’re very knowledgeable about this and you might have this.”

Letourneau: So, yeah, we’re happy to take clinic referrals anytime. One of the nice things about our research group and our registry is that we don’t have to see patients in person to be able to discuss cases with providers. So, we do a lot of de-identified case discussion. So, I would say really any time people have questions. So, if you’re a health care professional and you feel like you have one of these weird patients that just doesn’t quite seem to fit into type 1 or type 2, that would be the perfect time to email us or call us. Like I said, we’re happy to review stuff. We don’t mind if the case isn’t quite what we normally look for, that’s quite okay we try and think of it as a learning opportunity and help the health care professional know what to look for next time. So, we do take patients into our registry who have a known form of monogenic diabetes. And I think that’s something that’s not as well-known by the health care community. So, if you have a patient who has GCK-MODY and is doing great, not on any medications, we would still love to have them in our registry if the family is up for participating in research because that’s the way that we’re able to help other health care professionals, is by learning more information about all those patients. And then, if your patient is not able to get genetic testing covered through their insurance and you really think that they might have one of these forms, that’s also a great time to contact us. If the patient is eligible for our registry, they might be eligible for this research-based genetic testing that we do that’s free of charge to the patient.

Freed: What is the cash price for that type of genetic testing?

Letourneau: So, it depends on what testing is done. If you just do a single gene test, like let’s say for example if you really thought your patient had GCK-MODY, depending on the lab that does that it’s anywhere between maybe a few hundred dollars and a thousand dollars. One of the nice things about genetic testing is that there’s been so many advancements over the last couple of decades, now people can do next generation sequencing panels that cover multiple genes at the same time. Those run anywhere from $1,000 to $6,000 or $7,000, it really depends on the lab. So, it can be very expensive.

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