National Diabetes Awareness Month: Pinpointing Treatment

National Diabetes Awareness Month Pinpointing Treatment
National Diabetes Awareness Month Pinpointing Treatment

We live in a world where everyone knows someone who has diabetes.  The disease is characterized by the inability to produce or effectively use insulin, it is

rapidly on the rise and becoming one of the leading causes of death worldwide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately four million people die from complications due to diabetes or high blood glucose levels (WHO, http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/diabetes).  The fact that

80 percent of those afflicted are in middle to low-income countries, and cannot

or do not visit a medical professional regularly makes detection, diagnosis and

treatment all the more difficult.  WHO also reports that the number of people with diabetes has quadrupled since 1980 to 422 million people in 2014, with India having the largest population of adult diabetics (74 million, IDF) on the planet.

Diabetes has been manageable for most patients since insulin treatments were first pioneered in the 1920s, but it still remains undiagnosed in 24 to 62 percent of the world’s population. (WHO http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/204871/9789241565257_eng.pdf;jsessionid=6C39C7451F038C0EDDCED7B9528C7FE5?sequence=1).  The risk of not being diagnosed or receiving improper and insufficient treatment is catastrophic, potentially leading to blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputation.  Undiagnosed cases will be a core issue throughout National Diabetes Month in the United States, where over 30 million people live with the disease (Center for Disease Control https://www.cdc.gov/features/livingwithdiabetes/index.html) but many more remain undiagnosed and untreated.   

Genomic medicine and next-generation sequencing has seen the fastest progress to date in being able to identify genetic markers for diabetes in patients, and particularly being able to diagnose the most accurate type of diabetes they may have.  For both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, genomic sequencing can reveal many significant risk factors but cannot fully predict the onset of any particular condition. The specific combination of genetic markers correlated to increased risk is complicated, and a few dozen genes of many variants have been found to contribute a risk to one or both forms of the disease. Given this complex relationship, the disease cannot be accurately predicted in either form. Some rarer cases, however, can be predicted from pinpointing just one particular gene, but all of these monogenic forms of diabetes are extremely rare.  

Genomic medicine is also at the heart of managing and treating the disease and can be most effective in being able to inform doctors and patients of the exact type of diabetes that is present.  In both cases, physical activity is important, with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommending being active at least three times a week. For the undiagnosed, being checked for prediabetes (a high blood sugar condition that falls short of the definition of Type 2 diabetes) and healthy weight management are also strong ways to mitigate risk factors. For those who are diabetic patients, management is key, and balancing a healthy diet and regular blood sugar testing with treatments like insulin can mitigate the risk of the more serious symptoms associated with the disease. Still, symptoms of these risks should still be monitored closely, and a medical professional should be notified if any issue related to the patient’s diabetes arises.

The specific relationship between the human genome and all forms of diabetes is a lively field of study, one that could lead to a breakthrough on par with that of Banting and Best’s first insulin treatments. One such opportunity is in India, where Project Shivom has partnered with Genetic Technologies Limited on a pilot program meant to find a genomic answer for the nation’s unusually high rate of Type 2 diabetes. See here for more about how we’re using blockchain to combat Type 2 diabetes in India. (LINK: https://medium.com/projectshivom/blockchain-to-combat-type-2-diabetes-epidemic-in-india-1856f460bac5).

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: A Look at the BRCA Gene

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: A Look at the BRCA Gene
Breast Cancer Awareness Month: A Look at the BRCA Gene

As October is the month of Breast Cancer Awareness, we thought it a good idea to examine the BRCA genes in more detail, given our area of focus. In case you missed it, Shivom recently announced its partnership with Genetic Technologies Limited, in the aim of improving the methods for predicting the presence of cancer (and subsequently preventing it) with Big Data analysis of individuals’ genes.

“We believe blockchain technology will open up markets to make it much more efficient to catch many more users and practitioners. Not only that, by using the Shivom platform to its full potential, we will also be able to access the benefits of research in collaboration with other personalized healthcare organisations,” commented Dr Paul Kasian, Chairman & Interim CEO of GTG.

Research on breast cancer is perhaps one of the most important medical pursuits of our era. The disease is the second leading cause of death in women, with one in eight being diagnosed in their lifetime (men can also be affected, though it’s a much rarer occurrence).

BRCA1 and BRCA2 are the genes linked to the odds that someone develops the cancer. Contrary to popular belief, these genes are beneficial to individuals, and normally prevent the spread of cancer by suppressing tumours. Unfortunately, problems arise when the pair mutate (and consequently, no longer function as intended). Of those affected by a mutation, 55–65% with the BRCA1 mutation and 45% with the BRCA2 mutation will develop cancer by the age of 70. This is all too common. It’s something that, collectively, we need to better understand in order to actively combat and reduce incidences.

There’s some very good work underway already, and we’re eager to meaningfully contribute to the efforts. We’re firm believers in the power of data — specifically, the genomic information of individuals around the world. DNA holds troves of secrets that, once unlocked, could shed some light on some of the medical questions that have plagued us for centuries. In the age of artificial intelligence, data is fuel for building powerful models for prediction and further analysis. It’s important to ensure the pool is as large as possible to drive accurate results.

Blockchain protocols are the perfect chassis for building secure storage mediums for individuals, whilst also allowing them to share it with given parties — whether research institutions or companies operating in the medical field. It would offer them the ability to simply grant access outright, or to leverage a fee to ensure they’re remunerated for their contribution. Moreover, the nature of the tech is that it can reach even the most remote regions, granting researchers access to a much larger and diverse sample size.

In light of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it’s important to remember what can be achieved with the technologies we have at our disposition. A key priority for all working with blockchain technology should be deploying it for the benefit of individuals globally — for us, that’s the logging, understanding and prevention of life-threatening diseases.

If you’d like to donate to the Breast Cancer Foundation, you can do so here.

Blockchain can be the catalyst for a revolution in precision medicine

Blockchain can be the catalyst for a revolution in precision medicine
Blockchain can be the catalyst for a revolution in precision medicine

These days, there is little debate over the role that our genetic makeup plays in a number of different areas of our lives. The unique information trapped within genes unlocks the secrets of appearance, ancestry, intellectual capabilities, health and fitness.

Precision medicine is built around this understanding. Healthcare customisation of this kind involves making medical decisions, offering treatments and designing products that are tailored to the individual. It is an industry with huge potential to make a significant difference to the happiness and wellbeing of the whole of mankind.

One reason for this is that we know that many illnesses and disease are caused by some sort of genetic damage. 15% of all cancers have an inherited susceptibility. 10% of the chronic diseases that occur in adult populations, such as heart disease, diabetes and arthritis, have a significant genetic component. 20–30% of all infant deaths are due to genetic disorders.

We also know that genomic medicine can enhance the understanding and treatment of as many as 7,000 rare diseases. This is especially important when you consider that these diseases are increasing at a rate of roughly 5 per week.

The State Of Precision Medicine

Against this backdrop, the case for genomic medicine might well seem crystal clear. Certainly, there are a lot of people that expect this market to grow at an impressive rate of roughly 10% every year until it is worth $142 billion in 2026. However, if the significance of genomics for treating all sorts of diseases and illnesses is already known, why isn’t the market already there?

One of the main reasons for this is that such predictions rely on people actually understanding their DNA profile. This would require them to undertake genomic sequencing, which has historically been a very expensive process. Fortunately, this is changing. While sequencing the first full human genome cost nearly $3 billion, it now costs roughly $1,000 and the cost is going down, estimated to go down to $100 within a few years.

Obtaining the DNA data is just one part of the story. Doctors need to analyze this information on an individual level in order to tackle diseases that are known to have a genetic origin using targeted treatments.

However, for the precision medicine revolution to really catch fire, much more research into genomics and the treatments that can derive from it needs to be done.

The big blockers that are stopping this from occurring now are the interoperability of DNA data and the willingness of organisations to share it with one another. There is currently a lot of this data stored in the centralised databases of companies and health institutions that have been able to access individuals’ DNA up to this point.

Putting to one side the trust, ownership and privacy issues of this situation, the problem is that it is not in a consistent format that would make it easy to compare and contrast with data from another database. Even if this were to happen though, many organisations are not willing to share the data they hold with other related research institutions.

All of these issues together hold back the progress of precision medicine and the benefits it could bring to so many people around the world. If the full potential of customised healthcare is to be realised, researchers need to be able to access a global database of DNA, which is diverse, globally representative and secure enough for individuals to have confidence that their information won’t be compromised. With this sort of underlying platform in place, service providers could operate in an open market for precision treatments, with individuals able to access a solution that is tailored for them.

Blockchain provides the solution

Such an environment is made entirely possible by the advent of blockchain. The distributed ledger offers us the opportunity to establish this sort of open marketplace because of the underlying security of the technology. Individuals can store their DNA data on the blockchain so that only they own and control it. There is no need for it to exist in centralised databases owned by a third party organisation, which are highly susceptible to a hack or data breach.

With their data securely stored, they can choose to anonymously share their data with other parties for the purposes of medical research, public health studies or drug development. Not only that, they can be remunerated for it. This access to a global database of DNA will increase the range of diseases for which a treatment can be found, and reduce the time it takes to develop such treatments.

This is the big idea behind our new partnership with Genetic Technologies (GTG), the Nasdaq-listed molecular diagnostics company. GTG is at the forefront of precision medicine, having designed BREVAGenplus® — a clinically validated risk assessment test for non-hereditary breast cancer, something which 1 in every 11 women develops in their lifetime.

While this test is helping thousands of women around the world, its development was not trivial. In fact, collecting data to develop the BREVAGenplus® tests has taken over 7 years to date. These sorts of timelines will be massively reduced through access to Shivom’s blockchain-enabled healthcare platform, which aims to become the largest unique genomic and healthcare data-hub on the planet.

Progress through collaboration

The benefits of this partnership will be far reaching, Dr Paul Kasian, Chairman and acting CEO of GTG — a company that has already spent a significant amount of funds on research — has stated that it will be using the Shivom platform to access the benefits of research in collaboration with other personalized healthcare organisations.

This is so significant because of our focus on sequencing ethnic minorities and broad global geographies, which will allow these collaborating companies to greatly streamline and simplify the task of collecting information for research and treatment development. Plus, it’s important to remember that all of this will be possible while still keeping ownership and control of DNA data in the hands of the individual.

For precision medicine to truly make the impact that so many people believe it can, individuals need to be reassured that their data is securely stored, controlled and managed by themselves. If and when they decide to share this anonymously, they will enable researchers to develop tests and treatments for a whole range of rare diseases that affect thousands of people worldwide.

Thanks to blockchain, this huge impact is much closer than many had thought.

About the Author

Dr Axel Schumacher, who has over 20 years’ experience in the field of genetics; and is the Chief Scientific Officer of blockchain-enabled genomic data-hub startup Shivom. Shivom’s platform aims to be the largest genomic & healthcare data-hub on the planet, allowing the world’s population to have their genome sequenced and securely stored with the help of blockchain technology.

It’s time to take ownership

It’s time to take ownership
It’s time to take ownership

Blockchain can help you control, protect and share your health data — helping you and others live healthier, longer lives

Exciting advances in precision medicine over the past decade should mean you and your family are now receiving advanced levels of healthcare and disease prevention based on your genetic makeup.

Researchers and health professionals across the world should be enjoying access to a vast resource of genomic sequencing data and health records — helping them discover cures and treatments for every type of disease.

However, the reality is far different.

An ocean of data about your health and the health of others is likely to be spread across many databases. You probably have little ability to view or update this data, let alone control who has access to it.

As for genomic data, only a small percentage of people have had theirs sequenced — largely because there isn’t a secure place to hold and leverage it.

Time to take control

This is a tragedy. You should have the opportunity to own your health and DNA data, and to maintain total control over it. You should have up-to-date information about the diseases you are predisposed to. Every few months, your data dashboard should be updated to inform you of the latest insights scientists have about your DNA.

If you know you’re genetically predisposed to osteoporosis, you should be able to proactively take steps to avoid its onset. If you’re aware there is a high chance of being afflicted by a certain type of cancer, you should be regularly tested to ensure you can catch it early.

Health apps and silos

There are many ongoing initiatives across the globe aiming to facilitate the storage and sharing of genomic data, and thereby enable the progress of precision medicine. Health apps based on genomic and other health data are good examples. But they tend to be competing against each other and creating even more data silos.

Meanwhile, a few large businesses hold the monopoly on most genomic data, and make large profits from selling it to third parties, usually without sharing the earnings with the data donor.

This stifles research and innovation and prevents medicine and healthcare moving forward at the pace it should.

You and your doctors are being denied vital knowledge about your health, and brilliant scientists are being denied access to genomic datasets that could help them gather potentially transformational information that could lead to the eradication of diseases.

Cyber attacks

Not only is your future health being compromised by the current system, but your health data is being left vulnerable too. In the wake of major data breaches like those at Yahoo! and Equifax, it’s hard to trust any organisation with sensitive data stored on cloud databases or local servers.

The release on the internet of your data records could have huge implications on your personal relationships, your future employment, your health insurance and your general wellbeing. Cyber criminals know this, so medical data will increasingly be targeted to leverage money from health organisations and patients themselves.

It’s no wonder few people are largely unwilling to map out their DNA and risk this data being spread across the internet.

A blockchain solution

But blockchain-based technology could be the solution everyone is waiting for.

Its distributed ledger technology removes the vulnerabilities associated with cloud databases. This means it would be safe to store even the most sensitive DNA and healthcare data on the blockchain, without fear of it being stolen or misused in a cyber attack.

A centralized health data hub built on the blockchain could let you maintain full ownership of this data, allowing you to share it with health professionals.

Let’s imagine you’re visiting a specialist doctor for a consultation and tests. She would just need a laptop or mobile device to access your health data in the ecosystem — using a private key (in other words a temporary password) supplied by you. At no time would the data be stored in her own computer or cloud database. And she would only have access to your data while you were under her care.

If you wanted to share the data with a research firm, you could give them access to your data in anonymised form for a certain period, and perhaps receive a payment in exchange.

A new ecosystem

Healthcare and wellness providers such as clinics, pharmaceuticals, research organizations, governments, patient-support groups and insurance companies could join an ecosystem built around this blockchain technology.

They would no longer have to compete with each other to gather data. It would be there for them all to use — for example, to boost clinical trials or facilitate drug research and development. This data could be easily sharable and interoperable across technological, geographic, jurisdictional, and professional boundaries.

Sharing data

Such a system could offer patients access to applications that leverage their data and enhance their wellbeing and health — for example, nutritional and fitness advice, treatment plans, genealogy, disease predisposition, and lifestyle management.

Looking into the future, as more personalized biological information becomes available, services could be offered that are based not only on genomic data, but also other health, biological, and environmental information, facilitating new insights into disease processes.

This is an exciting time in healthcare. Soon, you’ll have the power to leverage your DNA and health data to live a longer, healthier life, while helping billions of others on the planet.

All the technologies are in place. The world just needs a suitable health data platform.

About the Author

Dr Axel Schumacher who has over 20 years’ experience in the field of genetics; and is the Chief Scientific Officer of blockchain-enabled genomic data-hub startup Shivom. Shivom’s platform aims to be the largest genomic & healthcare data-hub on the planet, allowing the world’s population to have their genome sequenced and securely stored with the help of blockchain technology.

How genetic testing will help personalize your medicine

How genetic testing will help personalize your medicine
How genetic testing will help personalize your medicine

For much of modern medical history, treatment has centered around the average patient. Discovering treatments which work for most people, most of the time has been a necessary starting point. However, treating every patient according to an average is rarely the most effective treatment method and can potentially even cause harm in some cases.

When the U.S air force first designed its planes, it based every measurement of the cockpit — from the shape of the seat, to the height of the windshield, to the distance between seat and pedals — according to the average of dimensions from hundreds of pilots. Nevertheless, unexplainable crashes kept occurring.

A young researcher tasked with studying the conundrum discovered the flaw: no individual is average. By replacing the average-sized designs with new versions that could be adjusted to the individual, the problem was solved. Now we are discovering that the flaw of averages — and the need for personalization — is equally important in medicine.

We now know that certain ethnic groups are more susceptible to genetic conditions and respond differently to treatment. Likewise, women can present with very different symptoms to men for the same disease. Genetic testing moves vastly beyond even these differences — opening up treatment possibilities tailored to each specific individual.

Safer prescription and administration of drugs

Individual genetic makeup can uncover the difference between an effective drug and a severe allergic reaction. The study of how genes affect drug response is known as pharmacogenomics.

Genetic differences can determine which drugs are selected for treatment. One drug, ivacaftor or Kalydeco, is used to treat cystic fibrosis — it’s a first-line treatment, but only for the 5% of CF sufferers who have a specific genetic mutation.

In other cases, genetic testing is used to determine safe dosage levels. Thiopurine drugs are used to treat leukemia but can cause dangerous levels of bone-marrow suppression. The dosage window between effective treatment and toxicity is small. Individuals with a certain TPMT gene mutation are ten times more sensitive and have a ten times smaller window — genetic testing can identify them and protect them from these toxic side-effects.

Advanced cancer treatments

There are over 100 types of cancer and over a third of people will be diagnosed with one of them at some point during their lifetime. As the second biggest killer after heart disease, few people escape its effects — either via themselves or by seeing their loved ones affected.

Cancer is caused by mutations within a cell’s DNA which cause it to grow abnormally and uncontrollably. Some of these genetic mutations are caused by exterior damage — sun and smoking, for example — while some are present at birth. Genetic testing of an individual can evaluate their risk of developing certain types of cancer, but tumours can also be genetically tested to determine their makeup.

One of the first examples of personalized medicine, dating back to the 60s, involves a breast cancer hormone therapy known as tamoxifen. It targets estrogen receptors present on the cancer cells. Some breast cancers do not exhibit these receptors — rendering tamoxifen useless in these cases.

Understanding not only the genetic makeup of the patient, but of the tumour itself, has led to new classifications of tumours and new treatment opportunities. Whereas historically cancers have primarily been classified by the point they originate from on the body — lung, breast, pancreas — classifying them according to certain genomic markers opens up new avenues for effective treatment.

Early risk detection and intervention

Almost all disorders — whether genetic or acquired — are most effectively treated with early intervention. Genetic testing can be performed in utero, at birth and later in life.

Some disorders are easier to test for — those directly caused by a single gene or small number of genes, such as cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anaemia and muscular dystrophy. Where available, early intervention can be started as soon as the diagnosis is made, reducing the severity of the symptoms and improving quality of life.

Other more complex diseases can have dozens of gene variants associated with increased risk — over 90 gene variants have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. Genetic testing cannot directly say whether or not an individual will be affected in their lifetime, but high risk individuals can be better informed and prepared.

As modern genomics continues to advance, the progression towards personalized medicine will only accelerate. The potential benefits in terms of treatment efficacy, risk assessment and harm reduction cannot be understated.

The accumulation of this level of personal medical data, however, comes with its own set of challenges. Private genetic information can have significant consequences in the wrong hands — for example, when it comes to health insurance coverage. Patient security from both a technological and legal standpoint needs to be a priority, and here novel technologies such as blockchain can play an important role and create unprecedented value for the precision medicine ecosystem.

Boilerplate:

Shivom combines blockchain, A.I., DNA sequencing & cryptography to enable secure and personalized medicine. The Shivom platform works on principles of collaboration & integrity, allowing people to own, manage and monetize their data. By creating a web-marketplace, a network of genomic counselors, and a not-for-profit drug research unit, Shivom will build a global healthcare ecosystem, reaching even low-income countries where such services have not been previously available.

Ten benefits of genetic testing

Ten benefits of genetic testing
Ten benefits of genetic testing

Advances in genetic analysis and the rise of direct-to-consumer DNA tests have changed the way we think about genetic testing. Now more than ever, patients and consumers can learn about their own genetic material. How can we — both as individuals and as larger communities — benefit from genetic testing?

1. Detect birth defects in utero

Every parent hopes to welcome a healthy child into the world. The nine month gestation period — albeit with ultrasounds and regular doctor checkups — is a nerve-wrecking time for parents to be.

Prenatal genetic testing can identify some genetic disorders in utero, and is recommended for parents carrying recessive genes for conditions and mothers at risk from chromosomal abnormalities. Early identification of genetic disorders allow parents to better prepare for a special needs child or choose to terminate the pregnancy.

2. Identify genetic conditions at birth

The unfortunate reality of many genetic conditions is that they can never be cured, only controlled. However, early intervention is key to improved health outcomes and reducing disorder severity. In the United States, over 95% of babies are tested for a whole range of genetic diseases — about 3000 (out of over 4 million) test positive and can begin early treatment.

3. Guide family planning decisions

Some of the deadliest genetic disorders — cystic fibrosis, Huntington’s disease and Tay-Sachs, among others — are caused by recessive genes. Healthy adults who have never experienced symptoms can nevertheless carry the gene without ever being aware.

When two carriers have a baby, the child has a 25% chance of developing the full disorder. This is a particular risk in insular communities who tend to intermarry — there are genetic testing programs directed towards Ashkenazi Jews and the Amish for this reason. With the results from these tests, carriers can make informed decisions about who to marry and who to have children with.

Source: Jewish Genetic Disease Consortium

4. Reveal risk from genetic factors

When genetic disorders are controlled by a single gene, identification of carriers and affected individuals is relatively simple to test for. Humanity’s deadliest killers — cancer, heart disease, diabetes — are made up of a constellation of risk factors that are still not fully understood.

Advances in genetic testing allow you to know if you are at a greater risk from these diseases later in life, and how severely you may be affected. Additionally, identifying a genetic risk factor in one member of a family can prompt close family members to undergo genetic analysis and evaluate their own levels of risk.

5. Understand family history

The primary purpose of genetic testing has, for years, been medical. Now, people are taking matters into their own hands. Direct-to-consumer ancestry testing has seen meteoric growth — more people analyzed their DNA with such a test in 2017 than in all previous years combined.

The ability to analyze and own your personal genetic data is evidently a tempting proposition. But as companies collect ever larger quantities of DNA, the question of who owns this data and what happens to it after testing is ever present. In June 2018, email addresses and password information associated with over 90 million users of genealogy website MyHeritage were exposed during a hacking incident. Luckily, MyHeritage store DNA data on a separate system protected by extra layers of security.

6. Reach historically underrepresented groups

Historically, medical research has focused on one subset of the population — white males. Non-white ethnicities and women have been underrepresented in initial research as well as pre-clinical and clinical trials. There are known differences between the sexes in symptoms, risk factors and outcomes for a whole host of diseases — cardiovascular disease, stroke and asthma, to name a few.

This narrow focus results in adverse treatment effects and population-specific genetic disorders being overlooked. The availability and reach of direct-to-consumer genetic testing means future medical research has the potential to be far more inclusive and precise.

7. Personalize medical treatment

If one size fits all doesn’t apply to clothes, how could it possibly apply to medicine? Our previous point highlighted how different population groups respond differently to treatment — genetic testing goes even further by personalizing treatment to specific individuals.

Genetic factors can significantly affect the body’s response to drugs — the study of this field is known as pharmacogenomics. For example, Abacavir is a highly effective treatment option for most HIV sufferers, however causes severe side effects for 5–12% of the patients. Patients with the HLA-B*5701 gene variant were found to be most likely to suffer these side effects. By screening for this gene variant, another treatment option could be offered to these patients.

This personalization could even reduce the need for one of the most gruelling treatments of all — chemotherapy. A major international study recently found that some women with early-stage breast cancer could skip chemotherapy altogether, as long as their tumor showed specific genetic markers. Breast cancer tumors with these genetic markers can be treated solely using estrogen blockers.

8. Contribute to drug and treatment research

Millions more people undergoing genetic testing mean a potentially enormous sample pool for genetic research. More data available offers opportunities to identify new genes, better understand genetic conditions and formulate new drugs and treatment options.

Medical genetic testing has strict conduct codes around sample acquisition and informed consent of its subjects. The largest direct-to-consumer genetic tests share sequence data with non-profits and research institutions and other, for-profit parties — the data is used to develop new treatments that can help millions (and make millions). However, the individuals who supply the data do not benefit from these profits and can’t know if their samples have been used.

9. Relief from uncertainty

Knowing that you or your children may be at risk from a genetic condition is a deeply stressful experience. Many people affected report the feeling of “waiting for the other shoe to drop”, especially for conditions where symptoms typically appear late in life.

Undergoing a genetic test and receiving clear information can give great relief from this uncertainty. A negative diagnosis rules out the disease completely, while positive diagnoses can be used to undergo checkups more frequently and take steps for early intervention.

10. Make informed decisions

Knowledge is power. Whether prenatal, in early childhood or as an adult, knowing the level of risk is key towards directing future decisions. A person who undergoes genetic testing and discovers a predisposition towards skin cancer can take greater care to stay out of the sun, while someone predisposed towards Type 2 diabetes can preemptively make healthier diet choices. People with a predisposition to Alzheimer’s disease can slow the onset of symptoms through diet and taking up certain hobbies. Clear information means factors under the patient’s control can be identified and improved.

In an ideal case scenario, genetic testing should take place in conjunction with genomic counseling. The potential psychological effects — feelings of dread or hopelessness — of a poor diagnosis — should not be discounted. For most patients, however, the benefits of early intervention, improved treatment outcomes and increased sense of control far outweigh the negatives.

While the benefits to individuals are mostly positive, the collection of large amounts of genetic data raises questions about privacy, data protection and potential genetic discrimination. Will regulations that protect the individual keep pace with this new technology? That remains to be seen.

Introducing the Winner for Shivom’s Community T-shirt Contest

Introducing the Winner for Shivom’s Community T-shirt Contest
Introducing the Winner for Shivom’s Community T-shirt Contest

We are thrilled to have received such creative t-shirt design ideas. After browsing through all the submissions, we have decided to award Senthil as the winner of last month’s community t-shirt contest. Besides complying to the specification given, his design was creative and tied into our core product offering.

As promised, Senthil will receive 5,000 OMIX tokens. Thanks to everyone who participated and made this contest a stupendous success.
Stay tuned to know more about our next contest.

September Sickle Cell Awareness Campaign — Plus more updates about our Diabetes work in India

September Sickle Cell Awareness Campaign India
September Sickle Cell Awareness Campaign India

Following the announcement of our partnership with eMQT, Shivom asks the community to take a moment to reflect on the devastating genetic disorder Sickle Cell Disease (SCD)

SCD is a blood disease and particularly common in people with an African or Caribbean family background. Patients with SCD produce irregular shaped red blood cells that can cause complications because they don’t live as long as healthy blood cells and can’t carry enough oxygen around the body. Due to their shape, these blood cells can get stuck inside smaller blood vessels. This keeps blood from flowing and can cause pain and severe damage to parts of the body, ultimately leading to a reduced life expectancy.

We are inviting patients, physicians, and researchers to share their experiences with SCD on our social media channels.

Follow us, tweet at us @ProjectShivom, and use the hashtag #SickleCellAwareness OR you can send us your story to info@shivom.io

Read more about our work with SCD and our partnership with eMQT here

Moving Forward with Diabetes Pilot in India

Moving Forward with Diabetes Pilot in India

Towards the end of September our CEO, Henry Ines, and our Co-Founder and CSO, Dr. Axel Schumacher will again head to India to begin our Type II diabetes (T2D) pilot study in the state of Andhra Pradesh, located in the south-eastern part of the subcontinent. Together with our Indian partners, including a diagnostics clinic and local doctors, we will initiate the collection of DNA samples from diabetes patients and matched control subjects. Among others, the work will also involve setting up recruitment, sample logistics, educational programs, and standard operating procedures for the pilot and further projects. identification of biomarkers for accurate classification of patient subgroupsOur pilot program serves to bring precision medicine studies to the next era. The study will not only aim at finding genotypes that are specific to Indian sub populations but help diagnose and treat the disease. Collected data will help to further our blockchain platform, provide a proof of concept of assigning digital identities for the local population, and provide data ownership to study participants. By using state-of-the-art AI algorithms, Shivom and our partners will work towards the identification of biomarkers for accurate classification of patient subgroups and diabetes management apps within our platform.

 

What’s New with Our Platform?

We are thrilled by the high-interest shown by our community to test one of our first modules. Please stay tuned for more information regarding the release date and details for logging into the test module.

We look forward to providing the community with more updates next month and hearing your SCD stories.

As always, we thank you for your continued support and dedication.

Shivom Team

Exciting Changes within SHIVOM’s Management Team!

Exciting Changes within SHIVOM’s Management Team
Exciting Changes within SHIVOM’s Management Team

Here at OMIX Ventures Pvt Ltd. Project SHIVOM (Token Ticker: OMX), now post-ICO and focused on execution and growth, the leadership team has decided to make some significant management changes to ensure efficient execution and platform roll out.

We’re thrilled to announce that Henry Ines has been named as Chief Executive Officer of the global blockchain-based genomics and precision medicine services company.

Henry has deep experience and knowledge of strategic development, corporate finance, startup scaling and execution based on decades of professional experience to include years as a VC, while working in Silicon Valley and Asia as a partner at Draper Dragon Fund, DFJ Dragon Fund and DragonVenture and focusing on early stage investments in frontier technologies to include FinTech & blockchain, artificial intelligence and VR/AR. Henry continues to serve on the advisory board of multiple Blockchain and Silicon Valley tech startups and serves as a mentor to leading incubators and accelerators. Henry is also a lecturer at the Nanyang Technopreneurship Center (NTC), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and is a Senior Member of the World Education Blockchain Association (WEBA) in Singapore. He began his career at McNeil Consumer Products Company, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, and as a management consultant to Fortune 100 companies while working at Price Waterhouse LLP. Henry holds a BS in Finance from Pennsylvania State University in University Park, PA and an MBA from Duke University Fuqua School of Business in Durham, NC.

“As we enter the Post-ICO phase, I am thrilled to lead the team at SHIVOM, focusing on tackling the many problems associated with the global healthcare system through genomics. The current healthcare system continues to be inefficient and face considerable challenges. Patients’ data continues to not be secure as is evident with the recent disclosures of data breaches. Additionally, many of the prevailing genetics companies and healthcare intermediaries continue to advance business models and practices that are not necessarily consistent with and in the best interests of donors or patients. We are looking forward to being able to empower individuals by providing significant insights into their genomes and health, tools for better managing and determining who has access to personal healthcare data, and enabling individuals to better manage their health and wellness through SHIVOM’s secure blockchain-based technology platform and healthcare ecosystem.”

Dr. Axel Schumacher, company co-founder who has been CEO up to now will continue as Chief Scientific Officer, leveraging his extensive research background and expertise in genomics and precision medicine. Additionally, Dr. Natalie Pankova moves into the role of Chief Operating Officer, and will lead operations out of our London office, leveraging her background in startup operations, business development and R&D, as well as her deep involvement in the global healthcare blockchain community. We believe these roles reflect the most direct path to success for our company, our supporters, and our vision.

SHIVOM cannot wait to build the world’s largest genomics datahub to help support clinical trials, advance research and development and drug discovery process globally, and ultimately work to democratize genomics for all. It is our mission to not only maintain a secure and safe platform for our users and web-market players, but also address the genomic-based complex and rare diseases such as diabetes utilizing advanced technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence.

We have a very special team that is dedicated to SHIVOM’s mission and working hard to execute in accordance with the company’s roadmap and growth strategy. As a startup, we must be nimble, iterate as needed and quickly respond to dynamic and evolving conditions. We are confident about our new changes, and keen to work together in new capacities to more effectively execute on our vision and take the company to new heights.

Thank you for your continued support as we enter this new wave of development, and stay tuned into our media outlets for more exciting news coming soon!

Shivom Management Team

Shivom Partners With SingularityNET For Strengthening Genomics Medical Research and Advanced…

As a step forward towards building the world’s most extensive database of DNA records, we have partnered with SingularityNETso, the pioneers of innovations in AI and deep learning. Popular for being one of the contributors to the development of the world’s first Humanoid ‘Sophia’, SingularityNET’s AI will strengthen our toolset for providing personalized medical analytics by integrating with Shivom’s decentralized network capability.

SingularityNET’s decentralized AI network provides an open market for anyone to develop, share and monetize AI services and algorithms. This is a lucrative alliance for communities in both entities to go full throttle and unlatch optimal benefits.

Shivom Partners With SingularityNET For Strengthening Genomics Medical Research and Advanced

Going Ahead — Strengthening Shivom For The Long Term

Post successful integration of the two networks, AI agents on the SingularityNET’s decentralized platform can request biological datasets from Shivom, to execute certain analytical tasks. Similarly, a Shivom customer can seek AI analytics to be performed on the genomics data uploaded.

Such synergized networks will help boost medical professionals, researchers and the customers needs with a more accurate and more hassle-free understanding of one’s health analysis bypassing impediments in data flow necessary for this type of analysis to take place via 3rd party services.

The cross-disciplinary data sharing amidst the two networks will be driven by automated conversion between the Shivom Tokens and SingularityNET’s AGI Tokens. Followed by deep encryption of datasets in transaction coupled with cross-network reputation management, the fundamental principle of the Blockchain towards data privacy is assured.

” Shivom Co-Founder and CEO, Dr. Axel Schumacher, elaborated on the partnership and said “We are excited to work with SingularityNET. AI approaches are well suited to model the complex dependencies in the regulatory landscape of our genome and can help to predict an individual’s probability of developing certain diseases. Such information should be made actionable. As such, we are confident that AI will play a central role in our platform for achieving greater depth in the interpretation of genetic information such as how an individual’s genes may impact their lifestyle decisions or help their healthcare providers to design of potential therapies.”

SingularityNET CEO, Dr. Ben Goertzel pitched in saying, “ “We are enthused to have the opportunity to support Shivom’s vision of next-era genomic research. The Shivom vision synergizes beautifully with the SingularityNET vision; the integration of Shivom’s technology, tools, and data with our SingularityNET mind-network will add more scope and intelligence into the field of personalized medical analytics.I. Together, we can achieve great things for medical science by utilizing high-quality datasets, SingularityNET’s algorithms and customer base for biomedical analytics services, and Shivom’s genomics-focused software.”

What’s Ahead?

In our mission to unlock the data stored in billions of genetic codes across the globe, this alliance is a breakthrough move. As partners, we really look forward to redefining medical research as we usher in a new era of healthcare and maximize the capabilities of Shivom’s genetic data storage and analysis platform.