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Commerciële DNA-testen – Reactie Atlas Biomed

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Naar aanleiding van de uitzending over de DNA-testen voor consumenten, vroegen we aan Altias Biamed om te reageren op enkele stellingen van experts over de testen die Atlas Biamed aanbiedt. In wat volgt wordt telkens de kritiek van de experts geponeerd, waarna de reactie volgt.

Our experts say: 'slightly increased' in the results is not clear for consumers. Also the difference between relative and absolute risk is not clear for consumers.

The disease risk section is organised by importance from highest risk to lowest risk. On the dashboard, it is helpfully colour-coded by risk level to help customers identify what steps to take.

We have made exceptional efforts to provide as much pre-test information as possible in order to inform users of the benefits and risks associated with discovering their personal genetic information. As such, we have a useful blog with a guide to the DNA Test results.

We also provide Genetic Counselling services for users who have taken the test and would like expert insight on how to manage the information revealed by their results.

The scope of the test is too limited to provide reliable results. The test is only looking at a few places in the DNA, For example, with breast cancer, only three spots or variants are being looked at.

The Atlas DNA Test analyses users' genome to detect the most common gene variants associated with hereditary diseases. With breast cancer, there are thousands of genetic variants associated with this disease, so we prioritise by selecting the most frequent gene variants.

This is not different for any other direct-to-consumer DNA tests, which represent an affordable option for today's consumers. On the other hand, whole genome sequencing covers every variant in a person's DNA, but the technology is extremely expensive.  

The experts claim the data are being sold to third parties. 

We have not and do not sell any client data. What you're saying is factually incorrect. Our users own their data and it is stored in anonymised format in accordance with UK and EU data protection laws. In order to sell our tests, Atlas Biomed technologies, protocols and policies are compliant with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), EU.

The GDPR is a landmark European policy implemented as of May 2018 aimed at protecting users' personal data.
We are proud of our achievements and we are happy to disclose the measures we take to protect our users genetic and personal data.

We use secure servers for data storage, and asymmetric 128-bit data encryption, as well as Thawte Information Security Technology.⁠ If a user wishes for their data to be deleted, we will complete this at any time upon request.⁠ For more information about data privacy protection, please read our blog. 

The test explains about Alzheimer, this is something you can not get properly tested in this type of commercial DNA test, it requires more specific expertise.

It is also morally questionable if you should tell consumers this without the proper post follow up care in a professional setting.

It's important to remember that learning about your genetic information does not guarantee good information. That's why Atlas Biomed has genetic counselling services available to help users understand the correct way of handling important knowledge that may indicate hereditary risks for their family members.  

Additionally, Atlas DNA Tests focus on prevention, not diagnosis. They are designed for informational and educational purposes, which is clearly stated inside the box. DNA tests are not a substitute for medical advice.
Overall the test is not very reliable and potentially misleading for consumers.

The technology used for the Atlas DNA Test is 99.9% accurate. User genetic data is analysed using DNA microarray technology by Illumina, a world leader in the field of in vitro diagnostics, and performed by certified European laboratory facilities accredited with ISO 15189.

The results are then reviewed and approved by a geneticist at Atlas before being uploaded to your personal account.