Medicare and Medicaid have approved a new test for two blood cancers that was developed by Washington University in St. Louis. 

Dr. Richard Cote at the School of Medicine said the test advances precision, or personalized, medicine for blood cancer treatment by identifying genetic changes in cancer cells.

“This test is a very sophisticated test which essentially looks at the entire genome of the cells that comprise certain types of blood cancers, and specifically those blood cancers are called myeloid blood cancers,” Cote said.

Demand for this test is expected to skyrocket across the U.S. now that it’s going to be covered by Medicare and Medicaid.

“The point of this test is that, because of the way that it’s done, because it’s actually looking at the entire genome, we believe, and are working on ways to expand the indications for this test, beyond the blood cancers, into other kinds of cancers,” he said.

Cote emphasized the importance of the treatment being covered by Medicare and Medicaid, adding that it’s typically a time-consuming process.

“We actually got this approved by Medicare relatively rapidly and the reason for that was because of the radical difference it makes in defining the molecular alterations and making treatment decisions in these kinds of cancers,” he explained.

He hopes to expand the test to treat other kinds of cancers in the future.

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