Genetics center to launch new genetic-testing initiative

(Philadelphia) July 5, 2005 As genetic testing for human disease increasingly moves from the science lab to clinical application, The Pew Charitable Trusts announced today that it is making a significant new investment in the Genetics and Public Policy Center to improve the overall effectiveness, safety, and reliability of genetic testing, and to develop and promote recommendations where appropriate. The Center, a joint project of the Trusts and Johns Hopkins University, is part of a growing portfolio of Trusts-sponsored initiatives that addresses the policy implications of emerging technologies.

"Genetic tests increasingly provide prospective parents with vital knowledge at a crucial time as they make decisions about whether, when and how to start a family when faced with possible transmission of genetic disease," said Rebecca W. Rimel, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Pew Charitable Trusts. "As families weigh such difficult issues, the safety, accuracy, and reliability of the underlying tests should be a given. This is one example of how the Trusts is working to help the public and policymakers understand and successfully and swiftly integrate emerging technologies, and we are pleased to be expanding our partnership with Johns Hopkins."

"Almost daily, there is a report in the news about a new genetic test and the promise it holds for improving well being and promoting health. At the same time, however, the public may not realize how little is known about how valid many of these new tests are, or how much good they actually do," said Ruth R. Faden, Director of the Berman Bioethics Institute at Johns Hopkins. "We are thrilled that this extraordinary award from The Pew Charitable Trusts will allow our Genetics and Public Policy Center to fill this important gap in allowing all of us to benefit responsibly from advances in genetic testing."

The $3 million, two-year grant supplements a previous investment by the Trusts and wil

Contact: Rick Borchelt
Genetics & Public Policy Center, Johns Hopkins University

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