23andMe is Looking to Expand to Millions More Users with a New Genetic DNA Report on Diabetes

One in three people is at risk for diabetes. So 23andMe set out to develop the first direct-to-consumer genetic test to assess whether its users have a higher likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes, which is the most common form of the disease. The company has been around for more than a decade, but said its new diabetes report is the first of its kind.

The company is upgrading its $99 and up at-home DNA test to include a report on diabetes, with an explanation on both the genetic and lifestyle factors that influence who’s likely to get the disease in their lifetimes.

Anne Wojcicki, CEO and Co-Founder of 23andMe, said, “When customers learn about their genetic likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes, we believe there is an opportunity to motivate them to change their lifestyle and ultimately to help them prevent the disease.”

23andMe already provides a series of reports back to users on their ancestry and traits. But 23andMe, for an additional fee, also offers health reports on conditions ranging from celiac disease to breast cancer, which are by no means a diagnosis but are instead intended as a screening of sorts to assess an individual’s risk.

You can learn more at 23andMe‘s web site at: https://blog.23andme.com/health-traits/type-2-diabetes/.

3 Comments

Hi Dick. Their blog mentions nothing specific about how this is being done. A few people in my family got their full health report before the FDA asked them to stop doing that – pending review. Other member got the abbreviated report after the FDA gave approval for that. Do they now have to pay extra for this Diabetes report? Or will it show up in their inbox as supplemental data? Do you know?

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    All I know about the new diabetes reports is what is in the announcement from 23andMe, as published at https://blog.23andme.com/health-traits/type-2-diabetes/

    The report does say, “This new report will impact …” I interpret the word “will” to mean it isn’t available today but will become available soon. Also, the same article states: “To learn more about the science behind 23andMe’s new Type 2 Diabetes report see our white paper” (which is available at: https://permalinks.23andme.com/pdf/23_19-Type2Diabetes_March2019.pdf )

    I am especially interested in this new report because (1.) I am a 23andMe customer who has received earlier medical reports from the company and (2.) I was diagnosed as a Type 2 diabetic 11 years ago. Over the next few years, my diabetes became worse and worse. At one time, I was giving myself 2 different insulin shots every day plus 7 different prescription pills every day plus some over-the-counter medications. My bathroom’s medicine cabinet looked like a drug store! I was paying more than $500 a month as my co-pay for the medications while my insurance company paid a lot more than that. (One of the insulin injections cost more than $800 a month total. My insurance company paid about $500 of that charge but my co-pay for that one medicine was $340 a month.)

    However, I recently went onto a medically-supervised program that has driven my diabetes into remission and I no longer give myself any insulin shots and a couple of weeks ago I stopped taking the last of my prescription pills. Since giving up all the prescriptions, I have lost more than 20 pounds and expect to lose more. I feel great and have more energy than I have had in years. Life without drugs is great!

    Diabetes is commonly found in both sides of my family tree. My father was a diabetic and my older sister also is a diabetic. So were one of my grandparents, one of my great-grandmothers, several of my aunts, uncles, and a number of my cousins. Obviously, in our cases, diabetes was caused by a poor choice of ancestors!

    Therefore, I am very interested in the genetics involved and have already coached my daughter and several of my nieces and nephews about avoiding diabetes. (Science has recently proven that Type 2 Diabetes is avoidable!) I will be watching the story of 23andMe and any other company’s reports on inherited diabetes closely and probably will write about any such news in this newsletter whenever it becomes available.

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Thank you for sharing, Dick! Excellent communication, as always!

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