A pioneering diabetes pilot to collect, sequence and analyze DNA in India, may help explain why the country has one of the highest rising prevalence of the type 2 diabetes in the world. The aim is to use the data for improved diagnosis and treatment of this disease that is devastating the country.
Genomics and precision medicine startup Shivom is working with diagnostic partner Genetic Technologies Limited (GTG; ASX:GTG; NASDAQ:GENE) with the goal of finding unique genetic markers specific to Indian sub-populations. Diabetes is a disease characterized by high levels of blood glucose. Over longer periods of time it leads to serious damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys and nerve system.
Incidences of type 2 diabetes in India have more than quadrupled in the last 35 years, with communities developing the disease at younger ages and at lower body weights than other populations. According to the World health Organization, around 72 million Indians have the disease.
The ground-breaking pilot involves thousands of patients and will start in the south-eastern state of Andhra Pradesh – some of whom have already been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and control participants who don’t have the disease.
Dr. Axel Schumacher, founding member and Chief Scientific Officer of Shivom, said: “Shivom and the province of Andhra Pradesh are working to usher in a new era of precision medicine that successfully leverages state-of-the-art technologies, latest scientific advancements in genomics and new economic models, something we have never seen before.”
“These have the potential to revolutionize the way healthcare pilots are performed, empowering all people to better manage their wellness, avoid diabetes, and to be stakeholders in the future of healthcare.”
The process of the pilot will involve collecting saliva samples of the patients from which DNA will be extracted, analyzed and secured on Shivom’s blockchain-based genomics datahub. Shivom’s partner – diagnostics leader Genetic Technologies Limited – will help analyze the collected anonymous genomic-samples and data with the goal of developing a diagnostic SNP panel specific to the Indian population.
The pilot to help combat this epidemic in India, has caught the interest of U.S. TV. It’s launch and progress is being documented as part of the CNBC show, Advancements presented by actor Ted Danson.
Secure and anonymized
Patients’ data will remain absolutely confidential and secure on Shivom’s blockchain-based genomics datahub. However it will be easily shareable in an anonymous form and inter-operable across technological boundaries.
The patients will have control of their data at all time and can withdraw it from the database when they choose to. Participants are expected to receive health insights and benefits. In the future, they will have the option to be compensated for its use in trials.