Compass Genetics - Genetics education, Genetic Counselling and Genetics resources - Singapore
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What is Compass Genetics?

Compass Genetics is a Singapore-based company that promotes the use of precision medicine in medical practice throughout Southeast Asia by providing education, online tools and genetic counselling services to doctors, patients and test providers in the region.

What does Compass Genetics do?

Compass Genetics offers an online portal for patients, doctors and genetic counsellors to provide all the tools and knowledge needed to bring the latest in genetic testing and precision medicine to the region. Compass Genetics does not offer genetic tests. Those interested in genetic tests should contact their doctor for information on testing options.

What is DNA?

DNA is a molecule that is found in almost all cells of your body. DNA is a code - the instructions - used by cells to the make the things that determine what that cell will become - such as a heart cell, liver cell or blood cell. Each time a new cell is made, the DNA within it is copied. However, during the copying process, mistakes can be made and this can lead to genetic disorders and cancer.

What is genetics?

Geentics is the study of inheritance and how traits are passed from one generation to the next. Each person inherits a portion of their DNA from their father and mother. In some cases, if a defect in the DNA from one parent is present, this can be passed to their children. And, if not fatal, this condition can continue to be passed from generation to generation.

What is a genetic counsellor?

A genetic counsellor is a trained medical professional that specializes in understanding heredity and genetics and is also trained in psychology and counselling to help patients understand the results of a genetic diagnosis. Genetic counsellors receive advanced graduate degrees in genetic counselling and work for many years in the clinic along side patients and their doctors to help diagnosis, counsel and follow-up on each patient's case. Counsellors are usually certified and accredited by a governing organization such as the counselling societies in the United States, Europe, Australia and others.

What happens during a genetic counselling session?

Prior to testing, a genetic counsellor will meet with a patient to learn about their family history of any conditions or diseases, create a pedigree and discuss the testing options available to the patient. Following testing, the counsellor works with the doctor to understand and interpret the results of any tests and personally meets and explains the results to the patients and their family if there are any implications for hereditary transmission of a condition. Counselling sessions can be done in-person, over the phone or over the internet and counsellors are available around the clock to assist a patient and their families.

What is a clinical geneticist?

A clinical geneticist is a medical doctor that has had specialty training in human genetics and hereditary disease. A clinical geneticist can arrange for medical screening of patients suspected of a genetic disorder, provide genetic counselling and treatment advice and interact with additional genetic counsellors to provide support and care for a patient and their family. A clinical geneticist is a medical doctor and can prescribe treatment and design a course of care for a patient.

What is genetic testing?

Genetic testing is the process of obtaining a person's DNA and analyzing that DNA for changes or differences in that specific person's DNA that may be important in the formation of a disease or treatment and care of that person. There are many ways in which DNA can be obtained from a person - usually from a small blood sample - or from such things are tumor biopsy samples or even from a saliva (spit) sample which will contain cheek cells from the individual. Testing is performed in a laboratory and results sent to the referring doctor and/or the patient. There are number of different types of tests and many different technologies used in the laboratory to perform genetic tests. Genetic testing is usually ordered by a patient's doctor on their behalf based on the profile of the condition being tested. It is preferred that patients consult with a doctor or genetic counsellor before having a genetic test done.

How are genetic tests done?

Genetic tests are usually performed on DNA from an individual or from a family of individuals. The DNA is obtained from the person's cells in a laboratory and tesing is done in a laboratory that specializes in molecular biology and genetic testing. There are some genetic tests that are available directly to the public - known as direct-to-consumer (DTC) tests - such as 23andMe or Ancestry.com - which provide information on a person's DNA profile in a broad manner. DTC tests are popular for knowing a person's ancestry or family origins. Some DTC do contain results that are relevant for medical purposes. Most genetic tests, however, are prescribed and ordered by a doctor and the results are reviewed and explained to a patient by their doctor or a genetic counsellor. It is preferred that patients consult with a doctor or genetic counsellor before having a genetic test done to insure the proper test is being performed and that the results will be useful for a person's condition.

Who can order a genetic test?

Most genetic tests, however, are prescribed and ordered by a doctor and the results are reviewed and explained to a patient by their doctor or a genetic counsellor. It is preferred that patients consult with a doctor or genetic counsellor before having a genetic test done to insure the proper test is being performed and that the results will be useful for a person's condition. There are some genetic tests that are available directly to the public - known as direct-to-consumer (DTC) tests - such as 23andMe or Ancestry.com - which provide information on a person's DNA profile in a broad manner. DTC tests are popular for knowing a person's ancestry or family origins. Some DTC do contain results that are relevant for medical purposes.

What can I be tested for with a genetic test?

There are hundreds of different tests available on the market. Many tests are for cancer patients to try and understand the origins and nature of their cancer to guide possible treatment and assess the severity of the tumor. There are tests which will look for rare diseases caused by changes in a person's DNA that may show symptoms that are new to the doctor or patient. For couples preparing to have a family, there are carrier screening tests to check for any increased chances of passing on a genetic disorder - such as thalessemia or Tay-Sachs disease - prior to getting pregnant. For couples that are already pregnant and expecting a child, there are tests to check the genetic health of the baby before birth called Non-invasive prenatal tests (NIPT). There are also tests which can determine a person's ability to metabolize or take certain medications - known as pharmacogenomic tests - to reduce the chance of having an adverse reaction to a drug or a failed response to treatment. It is preferred that patients consult with a doctor or genetic counsellor before having a genetic test done to insure the proper test is being performed and that the results will be useful for a person's condition.

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