Effective immediately, SpectraCell Laboratories now offers apolipoprotein E genotyping. This test determines a person's genetic risk for heart disease associated with the commonly studied gene called apoE, which is involved in the metabolism of cholesterol and triglycerides (fats in the blood).
The medical community generally agrees that heart disease risk is affected by both environmental and genetic factors. ApoE is a protein that affects how efficiently cholesterol is cleared from cells and taken to the liver for excretion from the body. Depending on which apoE gene a person has, the apoE protein will differ in structure and function. These differences affect how effectively certain therapies will lower a patient's risk of heart disease. In other words, knowing a patient's apoE genotype helps a doctor predict whether or not the patient would be better off on statins versus a low-fat diet, for example.
"We know that every individual is unique at the genetic level, and that means some people will respond better to certain approaches for reducing heart disease risk than others. Some patients might respond well to a low fat diet, some patients might respond better to statin medications, depending on their apoE genotype," states Dr. Jonathan Stein, PhD and Director of Science and Research at SpectraCell Laboratories. "Knowing the specific genes for apoE gives the doctor another piece of the treatment puzzle. Combined with LPP™ testing, a doctor can target the best course of action, based on that patient's individual profile."
Six possible apoE genotypes exist: e2/e2, e2/e3, e2/e4, e3/e3, e3/e4 and e4/e4. Approximately 40% of the population carries one or more of the high risk variants within the apoE gene.
SpectraCell uses PCR (polymerase chain reaction) technology to measure apoE. Since this is a genetic test and therefore results do not vary over time, it only needs to be done once per lifetime. However, apoE genotyping is best when used in conjunction with additional lipid profile testing. A simple non-fasting blood draw is all that is required. The cash price of the apoE test is $150, although it is typically covered by insurance.