UK based biotech startup, Genomics plc, uses a DNA test combined with other risk factors to create an overview of what health conditions the patient is at a high risk of developing.
Early detection is important to increase the likelihood of a positive outcome for most medical conditions. Catching them early provides more opportunity to stop the progression and/or reverse the damage. When a patient has a full understanding of what they are at risk for, it provides a chance for preventative lifestyle changes and frequent monitoring.
Implementing preventative measures and monitoring changes for early detection can also save healthcare systems and patients money. Combining genetic data with other risk factors to create a complete picture of the patient’s health and their risk for conditions is an affordable way to make that happen.
Oxford-based Genomics plc has identified thousands of genetic locations in DNA where common changes are associated with the risk level of certain health conditions. A single change is small, so it would not necessarily cause an illness. But, the test looks at thousands of changes. It combines this with personal information such as gender, weight and height to provide a personal gene score that enables differences between individuals to be compared. This is called a polygenic risk score.
The score can provide heart health information, risk of common cancers including breast and prostate cancer, diabetes and COPD. Doctors can then use the tool to decide the appropriate action unique to that person. The platform can also be used to assess risks for certain conditions in a larger population, helping to find higher risk patients where there is a suitable intervention. In March 2021, Genomics plc completed a $30 million funding round to advance their patient-centred health risk mapping technology.