Genetic testing is one of the most rapidly growing industries in the country. Currently, there are over 1,500 genetic tests available with approximately another 300 available for use specifically in medical research; with prenatal tests by far the most common types of genetic testing. Samples are taken from blood draws, cheek swabs, urine samples, extraction of amniotic fluid, or from other body tissues. By examining these samples and looking for changes between how a cell should look and how they actually appear, experts are able to discover genetic disorders, inherited a susceptibility to certain disease states, and cancer detection.
With early identification, there are wider choices of treatment options, surgical interventions, and planning for the future. Increased diagnoses of genetic diseases have, in turn, increased the opportunities for innovations and market expansion. In addition to simply testing, physicians and patients generally need some assistance interpreting the results and treating the complexities of the conditions, if any. Experts are found in the hundreds of genetic laboratories and testing facilities.
At this point, the cancer testing market is estimated at about $10 to $12 billion dollars. Considering that around 75% of all cancer diagnoses recorded in individuals 55 years or older, and that percentage of the population is increasing, the need for genetic tests for cancer will correspondingly increase.
There are now companies that are able to delve into specific areas: Cytogenetics analyzes chromosomes that can cause problems with growth and development. Molecular Genetics deals with heredity, variations and mutations. Cancer Genetics studies why some types of cancer run in families and the possibilities of increased risks. These advances in testing have turned the market from a service-driven to a product-driven industry. It is expected that this change will only increase the need for DNA testing services in the future.
With continued medical research and technologic innovations, the genetic testing field is undoubtedly one to watch in the future.