COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The Ohio State University has launched a new-and-improved version of a tool that combines genetics and technology to screen patients’ health.
Developed by researchers more than 20 years ago, the family health risk calculator — designed to help patients assess their chance of developing cancer — recently received a makeover. Once a kiosk that sat in the lobby of the James Cancer Hospital, the tool is now available free of charge to folks around the world.
Using genetics and the advancements of technology, the tool not only predicts a patient’s risks for different types of cancers but also screens for another ailment largely determined by genetics: heart disease.
“A family history triage tool is really how I think about it,” Elizabeth Jordan, associate professor of medicine in Ohio State’s division of human genetics, said.
“This is probably more sensitive than specific, so the questions are broad-reaching, and they are obviously dependent on shared family history, which has been demonstrated as imperfect but the best we got.”
On the tool, a patient can decide to examine either their risk for cancer or for heart disease. From there the tool asks the patient to provide as much health information as possible.
“Over the last years, not only has the tool improved with easier access and easy use,” Ohio State Genetics Professor Kevin Sweet said. “The assessment is more complete, and you can utilize that tool to inform your family members that are at risk.”
Check out the risk assessment tool here.