DNA-testing company helping solve chronic pain

"I kind of got to the point where I thought I wasn’t going to get any better," said Charlene Ball of Orange County. 

"I lived with pain, basically 24/7," said Kelsey Oliver, a 32-year-old mother and wife in Oklahoma. 

They live states apart but share the same struggle. They suffered collectively for more than 15 years, enduring chronic symptoms that stumped their doctors. Both women's symptoms got so bad they could no longer function well enough to work.

Ball's official diagnosis was Lupus, an autoimmune disease. Oliver was diagnosed with interstitial systitus, a bladder disorder.  

Their tests came back negative. 

"I had numerous traditional cultures come back not showing any infection," said Oliver.

Then, their doctors discovered MicroGenDX

"It didn't grow in cultures. DNA found it," says Rick Martin.

Martin, a veteran and former Pfizer executive, is the CEO and owner of the Texas-based DNA testing company. 

Their test uses next-generation DNA sequencing.  It uses the DNA from an infected sample and matches it to a database of more than 50,000 species of bacteria and fungi with a 99% accuracy - something traditional cultures all too often miss.

MicroGenDX clinical studies have shown the testing superior to culturing all sorts of infections. The most common is a urinary tract infection. 

Top hospitals, including UCLA Medical Center, are now using MicroGenDX. Private doctors are, too, including Dr. Kelly McCann of Costa Mesa, Ball's doctor who discovered the testing method two years ago.

"i just jumped at the idea that there was a better alternative than cultures," said Dr. McCann, a double certified internal medicine and pediatrics doctor.

Dr. McCann estimates the test has helped hundreds of her patients, including Ball, who, after more than a decade of no answers, got them and some relief.

"We were able to use the technology to pinpoint what the antibiotics/microbials were going to do the job," said Dr. McCann.

"Its given me hope," said Ball. 

The test, too, identified Oliver's infections. She's now living pain free. 

The test isn't more well known because insurance companies may not cover it. Martin is working to change that. 

In the meantime, each test runs a patient about $250.

But, Oliver and Ball say their health is priceless.

"It was worth that 100 times over to get my life back," said Oliver.

For more information, visit www.microgendx.com.