Middle ground in cancer testsAs the only commercial lab in...


June 05, 1996

Middle ground in cancer tests

As the only commercial lab in the United States offering a comprehensive genetic test for BRCA1 mutations, we applaud your reporter, Patricia Meisol, for the fine May 14 piece she did on a complicated issue. Often overlooked in the debate on breast cancer testing is a reasonable middle ground.

While there is indeed much we have to learn about inherited breast cancer, limiting genetic testing to research settings would prevent many women from getting this potentially life-saving information.

Our lab receives blood samples drawn from women in high-risk families from all over the country. It is our experience that physicians and genetic counselors in local communities can provide the same counseling offered in research settings. In fact, we require such counseling both before and after testing as part of our own institutional review board-approved protocol.

Last month, the American Society of Clinical Oncologists issued its first formal statement on genetic testing for cancer susceptibility. The guidelines respect the right of families to seek genetic testing outside of a research environment, but only with appropriate education and counseling.

Leslie Alexandre


The writer is a vice president of OncorMed.

Opportunity exists in the city

I have reference to your editorial of May 23, "Playing the Crowd," on Moving to Opportunity.

Let's truly and honestly move to opportunity by moving to city neighborhoods which offer excellent opportunities for employment in service jobs.

What is lacking is the will to find peripheral property, where one can walk to work, on which to build small groups of public housing, or purchase small groups of existing property for public housing, for ''Moving to Opportunity citizens'' in Baltimore City locations such as Ashburton, Roland Park, Mt. Washington, Homeland and Guilford.

The result would be well worth the cost.

Such a move to opportunity would improve Baltimore City, not harm it, and could turn around the harm that flight to the suburbs has done to Baltimore City, and preserve county property values.

If the judge said that the opportunity citizens must be removed from Baltimore City, he is incorrect.

William H. Waring


Penny raising urged for ship

I recently watched a marvelous program on PBS concerning the birth, the death and the rebirth of the Pride of Baltimore, our superb Baltimore Clipper. She is everything our citizens should be extremely proud of.

However, she is not our only "pride." Our Constellation, now in much need of repair, is indeed another treasure.

I understand that some substantial funds may be forthcoming for her restoration. What is the possibility of asking each one of our school children to give one penny -- one penny only -- to help defray some part of the costs?

Perhaps in years to come, when they are grown with children of their own, they can recall that they contributed to a part of Baltimore's great heritage and the Constellation will prove it.

Virginia H. S. Hoffmaster


Valedictorian label doesn't last

Reading the May 27 front-page story by Mike Bowler ("No single star, but an 'A' team"), which discussed the pros and cons of identifying the single high school senior with the highest grade-point average as class valedictorian, reminded me of the following riddle:

What do you call the medical school senior who graduates with the lowest grade-point average? Answer: "Doctor."

Leon Reinstein, M.D.


Pub Date: 6/05/96

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