Color Genomics goes beyond cancer with a test for heart health

Cancer and heart disease are the two leading causes of death in the United States. So far, Color Genomics has been focused on testing for mutations leading to a higher risk of certain cancers. But, today the four-year-old company is introducing a new category of genetic testing for cardiovascular health.

The new Color Hereditary High Cholesterol Test will tell you if you have a genetic mutation for something called Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH), a hereditary condition  that causes high cholesterol levels leading to coronary heart disease.

Possibly 34 million people are affected by the disease worldwide. About one in fifty people with high cholesterol have the mutation. The problem? Most people with the genetic mutation don’t know they have it until they have a potentially fatal heart attack.

Like cancer testing, earlier detection of the mutation can prevent the disease, improve survival rates and reduce medical costs. And that’s where Color hopes its new test can help.

“We started with cancer because it was one of the leading causes of death and the science around genetics and cancer was well-established,” Color chief marketing officer Katie Jacobs Stanton told TechCrunch. “Similarly, there is well-established science around genetics and cardiovascular disease…Given that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death (and combined with cancer costs over $1.1trillion per year), we saw an opportunity to help more people learn their risk of developing hereditary cardiovascular conditions and proactively managing their heart health using genetic data.”

Unlike at-home genetic tests like 23andMe, you order this one through your doctor. The test is $249 for new customers. However, those who’ve gone through Color’s cancer testing can purchase the cardiovascular test for an additional $150.