Welcome to the first feature in our Genetics at LetsGetChecked series. This week, we spoke to Kate Karfilis, Director of Genomic Products at LetsGetChecked, to learn about the benefits of genetic testing, future trends, and how LetsGetChecked is delivering unique and accessible genomic solutions.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your career journey to date.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been interested in and passionate about healthcare. I have a PhD in genetics and developmental biology and studied the genetics of early heart development in graduate school.

After completing my PhD, I started my career at a small sequencing-focused biotech company before spending several years at a leading genetic testing company. There, I held a number of different roles, including leading the development and commercialization of our Proactive Health and Pharmacogenomics products. I recently joined the LetsGetChecked team to help bring our genetics products to market.

What is the most exciting aspect of working at LetsGetChecked?

LetsGetChecked is a leader in accessible at-home diagnostic testing and an engaging patient experience. Adding our new genomic solutions to the LetsGetChecked platform enables us to leverage the power of genomics to improve patient-centered healthcare, which is an exciting and market-shifting opportunity.

What is next for LetsGetChecked in genetic screening? Are there any exciting projects that you are involved in?

We are launching our first two U.S. offerings in genomics: myGeneticScreen and myPGx. myPGx is a broad clinical pharmacogenomics panel that helps individuals understand how their bodies metabolize various drugs - enabling personalized treatment plans with fewer side effects.

The next is myGeneticScreen, a test to evaluate an individual’s inherited risk for certain hereditary conditions, including certain cancers and cardiovascular diseases, enabling people to seek more personalized advice, take preventive measures, and facilitate earlier detection and intervention.

Knowing information about one’s specific predisposition or risk enables individuals to take action regarding their screening, prevention, lifestyle, and medical changes to help further mitigate the risk of developing that disease, making it a valuable preventive screening.

What is LetsGetChecked doing differently to deliver a unique genetics product?

The combination of LetsGetChecked’s complete end-to-end solution, patient-centered experience, and clinical-grade genomic tests is a powerful and unique mechanism for providing this valuable healthcare information to everyone. While many leaders in the space are approaching genomics from a provider-only perspective, LetsGetChecked’s genomic solutions are directed at all players in healthcare, including patients, providers, employers, health plans, and public sector healthcare advocates.

Our solutions are designed to meet the needs of the multidisciplinary healthcare team, as we believe they are all more effective when working together. Our end-to-end solution includes pre and post-genetic counseling, easy-to-use at-home sample collection, patient-friendly results, and robust support for patients and providers to guide actionable next steps.

What are the benefits of adding genetic information to preventive health management at the population health level?

At a high level, genetic information supports better patient outcomes and lower healthcare costs.

  1. Early detection and the opportunity for early intervention: Knowing one’s personalized risk enables more robust screening and more timely interventions.
  2. Improved screening programs: Genetic insights provide data-informed actions, ultimately supporting lower-cost screening programs. These programs can help identify and target higher-risk populations who may otherwise not get tested at both the small-scale company or community levels all the way up to larger-scale population programs.
  3. Targeted therapy development: Genomic information, particularly when associated with a specific disease, can inform therapeutic development and drive precision medicine.

Where do you see genetic testing five years from now, and where will LetsGetChecked fit in?

There are still a number of barriers to the broad-scale adoption of genetic testing, including access, education about the utility and application, data and information integration challenges, and lack of actionable and supported next steps in an otherwise complex healthcare system.

The LetsGetChecked approach to genomics is actively minimizing these barriers by providing a complete solution to empower patients and partner with healthcare providers alike. I’m passionate about being part of the effort to bring genomic information into mainstream healthcare as a key pillar in the pursuit of personalized medicine.

In a few short years, I believe the LetsGetChecked genomics solutions will help drive towards a state where everyone is routinely tested for genetic information throughout all stages of life.

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