Genetics key to the future of diagnostics
Genomics, the study of a person’s genes and their interactions with other genes and the person’s environment, is a relatively new approach to understanding complex diseases, from heart disease to cancer, and its application in biomedical research is expected to accelerate over the next century, according to Elsevier.
From 2016-2024, oncology gene editing will witness robust 15.9% CAGR, according to Global Market Insights.
Cancer will remain one of the leading causes of death globally. As such, oncology gene editing should exceed US$874mn by 2024 owing to growing prevalence of various types of cancers.
Many cancers now are not diagnosed or staged simply on traditional pathology morphology – genetics are used to differentiate them.
“All kinds of cancers, we’re now having to differentiate them by their genetics. Based on their genetics we can determine prognosis, can determine treatment response,” said Jim Slater, CEO, Diagnostic Services Manitoba.
“You can identify those that will relapse and now there are drugs specifically targeted people with different specific types of genes.”
But it’s not just cancer treatment that genomics, genetic medicine and gene editing will play a part in over the coming years.
According to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA), in 2017, approximately 50mn Americans are suffering from autoimmune disease.
The high prevalence of autoimmune diseases demands for new treatment approach, which may include biomarkers, stem cell research, and genetic research.
Biological agents such as TNF agents, monoclonal antibodies, tissue and organ engineering procedure, gene-based delivery system, modulators of the immune system, and cell-based treatments are under evaluation for the treatment of autoimmune diseases in near future.
Genetic testing can occur right from the very start of the human lifecycle.
“Even before conception we’re doing genetic testing on parents or presumptive parents before they have children,” continued Slater.
“There’s a huge challenge though coming, we’re nowhere near where we need to be when it comes to the future of genetic testing.”
Those looking to genetics for treating their complex diseases will certainly be hoping that Elsevier’s prediction is correct.
Jvion launches AI-powered map to tackle mental health crisis
Clinical AI company Jvion has launched an interactive map of the US that highlights areas that are most vulnerable to poor mental health.
The Behavioral Health Vulnerability Map uses Jvion's AI CORE™ software to analyse public data on social determinants of health (SDOH) and determine the vulnerability of every US Census block group.
Vulnerability refers to the likelihood that residents will experience issues like self-harm, suicide attempts or overdoses. The map also identifies the most influential social determinants in each region, to show the social and environmental conditions that contribute to mental illness.
As an example, the map shows that Harrison County in Mississippi has a 50% higher suicide rate than the rest of the state. It also shows a high percentage of individuals in the armed forces at a time when active duty suicides are at a six-year high, along with a high prevalence of coronary artery disease, arthritis, and COPD, all chronic illnesses that are linked to a higher suicide risk.
The map also shows Harrison County has a high percentage of Vietnamese Americans, who studies suggest have high rates of depression and may be less likely to seek help from mental health professionals.
The map was built using the same data and analytics that Jvion used to create the COVID Community Vulnerability Map, which was launched towards the start of the pandemic.
With this new map, Jvion is aiming to tackle the growing mental health crisis in the US. “At a time when so many Americans are struggling with their mental health, we’re proud to offer a tool that can help direct treatment resources to the communities that need it most,” said Dr John Showalter, MD, Jvion’s chief product officer, who led the development of the map.
“For too long, the healthcare industry has struggled to address social determinants of health, particularly in the context of behavioural health. Our hope is that by surfacing the social and environmental vulnerabilities of America’s communities, we can better coordinate our response to the underlying conditions that impact the health and wellbeing of people everywhere.”