The Genassist Concept

The GENASSIST CONCEPT is a service designed to assist you and your doctor to research, record and review your (and/or your partner's) family history for inherited conditions. The results of the GENASSIST Family Genetic Profile will indicate whether or not you are a candidate for further genetic evaluation.

The GENASSIST CONCEPT is a screening tool for you and your physician to allow you to make informed decisions about:

  • Your risk of inherited diseases
  • The risk to your family of inherited diseases
  • Any potential risk to future generations of your family

(**On May 21, 2008 President Bush signed "The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008" into law. This law "protects our citizens from having genetic information misused". The intent of the passage of this law is to hopefully encourage the patient and his/her healthcare provider to gather genetic historical information.)

The GENASSIST CONCEPT was conceived and developed by Paul Wexler, M.D.. Dr. Wexler presently is a Clinical Professor in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and Clinical Professor in the Division of Genetics/The Department of Pediatrics at The University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and The Children's Hospital of Denver. Dr. Wexler has been the Medical Director of GENASSIST since 1983.

Who needs a Genassist Family Profile?

We think all patients need to be screened. Screening is strongly recommended for a variety of reasons including (cancer family history, donor/recipient screening, medical histories affecting quality of life issues, pediatric family history, prenatal diagnosis, preconceptional diagnosis, etc):

  • Individuals who have been diagnosed with a possible inherited disease: e.g. breast cancer, colon cancer, early heart attack or heart disease in several 1st or 2nd degree relatives, polyps in the bowel, prostate cancer or serious psychiatric disease (i.e. schizophrenia, bipolar disease).
  • Individuals in whom several members of their family have had the same or similar diseases e.g. brain deterioration disease, more than one cancer in the same site in different relatives or different sites in several members of your family particularly at an early age, or nerve disease.
  • Individuals who are considering being an egg or sperm donor or are considering using an egg or sperm donor.
  • Individuals who wish to begin collecting medical information on the family for utilization for medical care and/or testing for themselves and other family members.
  • You or your partner are a particular ethnicity which may increase your risk for getting or being a carrier of one or more specific diseases (e.g. Cystic Fibrosis, Sickle Cell Anemia, Thalassemia, Tay Sachs etc.)

Preconceptional and/or Prenatal Diagnosis:

  • You are a pregnant woman over age 30 or are younger than age 20.
  • You are a woman with a history of having a previous child with an abnormality (e.g., spinal defect, cleft lip, heart or limb defect).
  • You are a pregnant woman who took more than one year to conceive.
  • You are a woman with a history of two or more spontaneous miscarriages.
  • You are unable to conceive after one or more years of trying.
  • You are a woman with a history of an abnormality in either your family or that of your partner: in a grandparent, parent, brother or sister, niece or nephew, aunt or uncle, or first or second cousin.
  • You or your partner is a carrier of or is affected by a sex-linked disorder, (e.g., Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, Hemophilia).
  • You or your partner are carriers of an inborn error of metabolism, (e.g., Tay Sachs, PKU/Phenylketonuria).
  • You or your partner has a serious medical disease, (e.g., Epilepsy, Diabetes).
  • You are a man over 40 years of age and your partner is pregnant.
  • You have had an abnormal result on a prenatal test (e.g., 1st trimester aneuploidy screening (Ultrascreen), AFP/AFP2/AFP3/AFP4, Ultrasound etc.)