A simple blood test and there you go….your complete health profile!
Or are you worried about a family cancer history?
The benefit of early diagnosis of such a deadly disease is obvious. The answer is the Wellness Chip®.
Researchers at Somalogic, Inc. have developed a diagnostic technology with high sensitivity and specificity. The Wellness Chip, the brainchild of Larry Gold and his colleagues at Somalogic, will bring together diagnostic tests for various diseases in a single, simple blood test. Currently, Somalogic has licensed its technology to Quest Diagnostics for launching a lung cancer blood test before the end of this year.
What is the Wellness Chip?
The underlying principle is nucleic acid-aptamer based proteomic technology. Somalogic’s proprietary reagents called SOMAmers (Slow Off-rate Modified Aptamers) are single strand stretches of modified nucleic acids generated by a highly selective process called SELEX (Systematic Evolution of Ligands by Exponential Enrichment). SOMAmers are capable of binding specifically to a target of interest, e.g., a marker for a particular disease. SOMAmers to various targets are fabricated on a chip at distinct positions and simultaneously detect several proteins in micro-liter scale samples. This data will then be analyzed by bioinformatics tools.
Contrary to conventional antibodies based diagnostic procedures, SOMAmers are more sensitive and specific and can be made rapidly in weeks rather than months as is the case with antibodies. It will also be economically priced -$100’s not $1000’s.
Why blood test?
Proteins present in the blood are immediate indicators of a person’s state of health. Diseased tissues secrete proteins in the blood and their identification is essential to early and accurate therapeutic and preventative measures. The total number of blood proteins is about 4000 and the Wellness Chip can detect 1100 of these blood proteins. This protein profile will be analyzed to determine the health status of the individual. Currently available methods detect only about 20 to 30 proteins at a time.
From the laboratory to the market-
The SOMAmer technology has already found its clients in the pharma industry. In 2008, Somalogic entered into research collaboration with Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. for the development of diagnostic tools and to further Otsuka’s research in pharmaceuticals. On the other hand, the task of making the Wellness Chip a reality is entrusted with Quest Diagnostics.
2. Bio.IT World.com. Turning blood into gold: The Wellness Chip
4. U.S. Patent No. 7709192
5. Gold L, Ayers D, Bertino J, Bock C, Bock A, et al. (2010) Aptamer-Based Multiplexed Proteomic Technology for Biomarker Discovery. PLoS ONE 5(12): e15004
6. Ostroff RM, Bigbee WL, Franklin W, Gold L, Mehan M, et al. (2010) Unlocking Biomarker Discovery: Large Scale Application of Aptamer Proteomic Technology for Early Detection of Lung Cancer. PLoS ONE 5(12): e15003.