Genetic test maker Color teams with healthcare institutions to target cancer, high cholesterol

Genetically modified
Color and its partners will make the tests available to patients for free and provide a genetic counselor. (Getty Images)

Genetic test maker Color is teaming with several healthcare systems to provide preventive genomic testing to a wider spectrum of patients.

The collaboration with the Burlingame, California-based company includes the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Health and Thomas Jefferson University; The University of Chicago; and the University of California, San Francisco. 

Unlike other genetic testing companies that release results directly to customers, Color and its partners will make the tests available to patients for free, and provide a genetic counselor who can help translate the results and provide advice on any next steps.

The initiative, dubbed Color Population Health, will focus on cancer—specifically breast, ovarian, colorectal and prostate—and high cholesterol, which is also known as familial hypercholesterolemia, or FH.

"For too long, cost and access barriers have stood in the way of reaching people who could benefit from learning their genetic risk for serious hereditary conditions,” Othman Laraki, Color’s chief executive, said in a statement. “These partnerships represent an important step in breaking down those barriers and advancing population health and research."

Color Population Health was designed to provide preventive genomic information to a large swath of people with full sequencing for genes associated with what the Centers for Disease Control calls Tier 1 genomic conditions. The CDC highlighted those cancers and high cholesterol because of their increased impact on risk, numerous studies in large populations, and because of positive interventions that can result in successful health outcomes.

According to a study sponsored by Color, universal screening for these conditions in U.S. adults could lead to the prevention or early detection of over 1 million cases of cancer or cardiac events over 20 years, the company said.