Is telomere length analysis accurate and reliable?

RepeatDx® performs telomere length analysis on blood samples using the Flow FISH procedure, resulting in an accurate and reproducible measurement performed to thorough clinical and quality control testing standards. All patient samples are analyzed and compared to reference samples from a large set of healthy individuals, representing all age ranges equally. The ability to analyze different cell subsets provides more information per sample than any other method, providing physicians with more detailed information and leading to the most precise measurement.

How does RepeatDx’s flow Fish procedure compare to other available telomere testing methods?

Peer-reviewed publications have found the qPCR procedure, used by other testing laboratories, is not optimal for diagnosing telomere biology disorders, lacking sensitivity and reproducibility. Flow FISH is the recommended telomere length test for diagnosing diseases such as pulmonary fibrosis and dyskeratosis congenita. Read more

Is telomere testing medically meaningful?

Telomere disorders are caused by extremely short telomeres. When the telomere shortening process results in extremely short telomeres, cells can no longer divide effectively or may be subjected to genomic instability. An inherited mutation in the genes that produces the telomere maintenance enzyme called telomerase or regulate its access or activity disables the enzyme and causes shorter telomeres. RepeatDx’s Flow FISH procedure has been shown to be a valuable screening test for inherited telomere biology disorders. Understanding the telomere aging process is vital to combating syndromes such as dyskeratosis congenita.

This interest is driven by several recent peer-reviewed scientific publications showing that telomere length analysis measured by Flow FISH can be used to identify individuals with various forms of inherited telomerase deficiency and to distinguish carriers of mutations in telomerase genes and in genes encoding telomere binding proteins from individuals without such abnormalities.

Does telomere length analysis improve healthcare?

The two tests offered by RepeatDx are already applied to clinical diagnostics of telomere biology disorders and contribute to positive clinical outcomes.

Telomere length analysis has been the object of keen interest as a way of providing personal biological aging information. To date this has not been studied in case-controlled clinical studies that are necessary to define interpretation of the results. However, there are several papers linking short telomeres and telomere loss to chronic stress and possible predisposition or adverse contributory effect to various diseases including cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

The value of leukocyte telomere length in a variety of clinical settings needs to be explored to define beneficial interventions. Areas of immediate interest are studies of telomere length in relation to disease predisposition and prognosis, adverse effects of genotoxic or cytotoxic medications and treatments.

Is telomere length testing covered by insurance companies?

Although it varies depending on company and coverage type, telomere length analysis should be covered by insurance when used diagnostically in instances where it is the standard of care and is medically indicated. Most notably, telomere length testing should be covered for dyskeratosis congenita, telomere biology disorders and / or pulmonary fibrosis. You can download template insurance authorization letters on our Order Test page that can be personalized and may be useful when contacting insurance companies for approval prior to testing.

Can RepeatDx bill insurance companies directly?

Unfortunately not yet. As telomere length analysis is a specialist test that is unlikely to be on a pre-approved list, insurance companies generally need to request further information before approving. RepeatDx is not authorized to disclose this patient information, therefore all communications with the insurance company need to be handled by the patient and their physician or care team directly. Consequently, test billing is sent to the medical institution requesting the test, or to the patient, who will claim with the insurance company. We are hopeful that in time formal agreements can be reached between RepeatDx and insurance companies that will allow for direct billing.

What is required to measure the length of telomeres?

In addition to the standard personal information collected for medical testing such as patient name, age and sex, the test requires 5-10ml of blood. No special preparation or fasting is required. All sample preparation, shipping instructions and paperwork are included as part of the sample requisition documents found on our Order Test page. Additional clinical information is required if a medical consultation is requested with the test and working diagnosis information may be a helpful consideration for the laboratory process.

Does RepeatDx securely and confidentially collect patient information?

RepeatDx is a licensed clinical laboratory and follows all security and privacy requirements set by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPPA) in the United States, as well as by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) in Canada. All patient information collected and results generated from the telomere testing process are kept secure and confidential. This information is solely used for the purpose of providing clinical telomere testing.

What licenses does RepeatDx have?

RepeatDx is the only clinical laboratory accredited to provide Telomere Length Analysis in all 50 US States and Territories (CLIA 99D1068060; California COS 00800307; New York PFI 8658; Rhode Island LCO01138; Pennsylvania 032302; Maryland 1651). We are also licensed in Canada by the BC DAP program (DAP BC 1920100) and in Europe (ISO 9001).

Who can order a Telomere Length Measurement test?

A medical doctor who would be knowledgeable in this area of medicine, who can receive and interpret the results as well as make recommendations or refer the individual to a specialist when appropriate.


RepeatDx values all feedback on the service we provide as part of our commitment to providing excellent service and constantly striving to make improvements wherever necessary. In addition to an annual feedback survey during which we actively ask for comments and suggestions, we welcome additional comments, compliments, or concerns, at any time via our contact form. All feedback will be processed and evaluated; responses will be provided following internal review and consideration.