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.
Introducing Dosis - the AI powered dosing platform
Cloud-based platform Dosis uses AI to help patients and clinicians tailor their medication plans. Shivrat Chhabra, CEO and co-founder, tells us how it works.
When and why was Dosis founded?
Divya, my co-founder and I founded Dosis in 2017 with the purpose of creating a personalised dosing platform. We see personalisation in so many aspects of our lives, but not in the amount of medication we receive. We came across some research at the University of Louisville that personalised the dosing of a class of drugs called ESAs that are used to treat chronic anaemia. We thought, if commercialised, this could greatly benefit the healthcare industry by introducing precision medicine to drug dosing.
The research also showed that by taking this personalised approach, less drugs were needed to achieve the same or better outcomes. That meant that patients were exposed to less medication, so there was a lower likelihood of side effects. It also meant that the cost of care was reduced.
What is the Strategic Anemia Advisor?
Dosis’s flagship product, Strategic Anemia Advisor (SAA), personalises the dosing of Erythropoiesis Stimulating Agents (ESAs). ESAs are a class of drugs used to treat chronic anaemia, a common complication of chronic kidney disease.
SAA takes into account a patient’s previous ESA doses and lab levels, determines the patient’s unique response to the drug and outputs an ESA dose recommendation to keep the patient within a specified therapeutic target range. Healthcare providers use SAA as a clinical decision support tool.
What else is Dosis working on?
In the near term, we are working on releasing a personalised dosing module for IV iron, another drug that’s used in tandem with ESAs to treat chronic anaemia. We’re also working on personalising the dosing for the three drugs used to treat Mineral Bone Disorder. We’re very excited to expand our platform to these new drugs.
What are Dosis' strategic goals for the next 2-3 years?
We strongly believe that personalised dosing will be the standard of care within the next decade, and we’re honored to be a part of making that future a reality. In the next few years, we see Dosis entering partnerships with other companies that operate within value-based care environments, where tools like ours that help reduce cost while maintaining or improving outcomes are extremely useful.
What do you think AI's greatest benefits to healthcare are?
If designed well, AI in healthcare allows for a practical and usable way to deploy solutions that would not be feasible otherwise. For example, it’s possible for someone to manually solve the mathematical equations necessary to personalise drug dosing, but it is just not practical. AI in healthcare offers an exciting path forward for implementing solutions that for so long have appeared impractical or impossible.