On September 11, 2014, Claritas Genomics in Cambridge, MA, announced the creation of its newest genetic screening panel, which tests gene variants commonly associated with steroid resistant Nephrotic Syndrome in children. The test uses next-generation gene sequencing techniques to detect mutations in the 28 most common gene variants associated with Nephrotic Syndrome, making it the largest genetic panel for any pediatric kidney disease.
Typical candidates for this genetic test include: 1) pediatric patients less than 12 months old; 2) pediatric patients that do not respond to steroid therapy; 3) patients with a family history of Nephrotic Syndrome; 4) pediatric patients with features of FSGS; and 5) patients who have congenital malformations associated with Nephrotic Syndrome.
In a time where healthcare is becoming more patient centric, as opposed to disease centric, genetic screening may lead to more ‘personalized’ treatment based on the characteristics of a patient’s disease profile. Information about genetic underpinnings of Nephrotic Syndrome may inform what drugs are used for initial treatment, provide improved information for patients and families about the likely clinical course of disease, could improve the selection of appropriate transplant donors and provide opportunities for genetic counseling for other family members.
“This is the start of an exciting new era in understanding genetic factors that play a role in the onset and progression of at least some cases of Nephrotic Syndrome. NephCure Kidney International is proud to have supported the research at Boston Children’s Hospital that led to the development of this commercial application,” says Marilyn Hailperin, National Director of Research for NephCure. “Clear guidelines for when to seek genetic testing and the impact on patient treatment still need to be developed, but the availability of tests such as ClariFocus will help to advance scientific knowledge that will lead to better therapies.”
Patients and their family members should talk with their nephrologist about this new test. It is only available with a physician order at this time.