Updated on 21 December 2012
Another start-up based in Singapore, VolitionRx, is developing epigenetic cancer diagnostics with broad applicability. The company's initial focus is on colorectal, breast, lung and pancreatic cancers. Dr Mark Eccleston, external collaborations manager and chief scientific officer, HyperGenomics division, VolitionRx, explains the company's technology. "VolitionRx is developing a range of epigenetic cancer diagnostics based on our proprietary Nucleosomics technology platform. This technology allows epigenetic profiling through a liquid biopsy (blood, urine etc.) in a standard ELISA format."
"Specific cancers will be identified through their unique profiles based on a combination of histone modifications, histone variants, DNA modifications in nucleosomes (DNA or protein complexes released by dying cells) and adducts between nucleosomes and other nuclear proteins such as steroid receptors. Volition is developing this technology for a range of diagnostic and prognostic applications as well as well as therapeutic efficacy monitoring," he added.
Jai Health, a start-up in India, is a personalized healthcare solution provider that has launched its product Jai Heart, which is India's first genetic test for total cardiovascular risk. Heart disease arises as a result of a combination of genetic, environmental and lifestyle risk factors. With the discovery of major genetic risk factors over the past few years, the company has developed Jai Heart test to detect this risk and to bring that information together with the assessment of conventional risk factors.
Dr Sanjay Kakkar, founder and chairman, Jai Health, said, "Jai Heart is the first genomics-based risk estimation solution for heart disease developed specifically for Indian, other Asian, Middle Eastern and African populations. Jai Heart provides an overall estimate of an individual's susceptibility to developing heart disease facilitating more targeted screening, earlier intervention and prevention."
Jai Heart analyses DNA from saliva and cheek cells to look for genetic variations associated with heart disease. This is integrated with the client's medical history and conventional risk factors provided online at the time of registration. A detailed personalized report is produced that estimates the risk of developing heart disease, highlights individual risk factors and outlines what the client can do to prevent heart disease. Importantly, the incorporation of genomics into this test can give a signal of risk long before heart disease becomes symptomatic. This will help clients and their doctors initiate the necessary lifestyle changes, and initiate investigations and medical interventions to reduce the risk of a heart attack.