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Published on 15th Oct 2015
Published on 15th October 2015
Whole genome sequencing, as a process, involves arranging chromosomal and mitochondrial DNA to determine the complete sequence of DNA. Not to be confused with DNA profiling, or full genome sequencing, which cover smaller amounts of the genome. Whole genome sequencing covers more than 95%. The field has advanced a long way in only two decades, with the first organism to have its entire genome sequenced, in 1995, only a mere commensal bacterium. On the 13th October, Human Longevity, Inc., the genomics and cell therapy-based diagnostic and therapeutic company headquartered in San Diego, California, launched Health Nucleus. This is a new genomic powered clinical research program that hopes to undertake whole genome sequencing of humans, all 6 billion base pairs of DNA. The project model aims to “transform healthcare” by personalising it, delivering the “most complete picture of individual health”.According to HLI, customers will receive a year of health insight and analysis, so to gain an unprecedented understanding of their health, and crucially, their susceptibility to genetic diseases. However, the clinic does not use genome sequencing exclusively, rather with an array of other complex clinical and biological measures. They claim, it is the combination of these methods that makes Health Nucleus so unique.Alongside genome sequencing, Health Nucleus will also aim to incorporate microbiome sequencing, which is the study of microbial communities found around the body. There are estimated to be more than 10 times more microbial cells than human cells in the body. Additionally, metabolome characterisation, which measures chemical fingerprints left behind from cellular processes, and a comprehensive body MRI scan that will screen for any abnormalities and “provide a baseline for the future”.With more clinics to open across cities in the US and the rest of the world, HLI hope that Health Nucleus will be a frontrunner in “revolutionising the practice of medicine” by driving the movement away from treatment to preventative medicine. The key is to translate the masses of data that will be acquired into “clinically relevant information”, from which a web based portal will be updated with all the current information. “The Health Nucleus is our opportunity to lead the way to genomic health, enabling individuals and their physicians to pivot towards a more proactive, preventative and predictive healthcare future,” said J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., Co-founder and CEO, HLI.“We’re trying to focus our efforts on the diseases that kill people—cancer, heart disease, and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s,” said Pamila Brar, medical director of Health Nucleus.