This year, Shivom has partnered with multiple organisations to help individuals in developing economies gain access to their DNA information. Shivom’s OmiX platform, powered by blockchain technology, will allow everyone the opportunity to control and access their own DNA information, while simultaneously propelling advances in precision medicine.
Shivom begins a Type II diabetes pilot study in September 2018 in Andhra Pradesh, a state in the southeastern part of India, where earlier this year a partnership with the local government was announced. Together with Shivom’s partners in India, including a diagnostics clinic and local doctors, Shivom will initiate the collection of DNA samples for analysis. Shivom will set up recruitment and sample logistics, educational programs and standard operating procedures for this and further projects.
Type II diabetes is a disease characterised by abnormally high blood sugar levels. The body stops properly using and producing insulin, a hormone created in the pancreas that helps regulate blood sugar levels. Due to an increase in inactive lifestyles, obesity and other risk factors, the frequency of this disease has more than quadrupled in the past 35 years.
The risk of diabetes varies by ethnic and geographic background. India has the highest number of individuals with diabetes in the world, despite maintaining high rates of malnutrition. By 2030, it is estimated that 9% of India’s population will be diagnosed with diabetes. Genetic risk factors are complex; Individuals in India develop diabetes at a younger age and at lower body weights than other populations. However, these patterns are poorly understood, mostly because these populations are underrepresented in global genomic databases.
The goal from this initial trial is to work to identify how genetics of Type II diabetes differ in the Indian population and to provide users information about their DNA, while simultaneously helping drive the development of diagnostics for this disease in India with our partners. The data will be collected, stored and shared on Shivom’s OmiX platform using blockchain technology for maximum privacy and security. Patients will also be incentivised and can receive access to information for managing their disease.
Shivom is partnered with eMQT, a non-profit organization focused on high quality clinical trials in Africa. Over the course of the next year Shivom and eMQT will collect and work together to analyse DNA data from patients with Sickle Cell Disease in Nigeria, Africa. Patients will be able to receive incentives for sharing their information and the data will be stored on the OmiX platform, secured using Shivom’s technology.
Sickle cell disease is a group of inherited blood disorders. Patients with sickle cell disease produce unusually shaped red blood cells (shaped like crescent moons, or like an old farm tool known as a sickle). These misshapen blood cells cause problems because they don't live as long as healthy blood cells and they can't carry enough oxygen around the body, which can cause fatigue and shortness of breath. Due to their shape, these blood cells can get stuck, especially inside smaller blood vessels. This keeps blood from flowing normally, which can cause severe pain, organ damage, and reduced life expectancy. Sickle cell disease is particularly common in people with an African or Caribbean family background. In Africa, nearly 3% of infants are diagnosed with sickle cell disease.
The overarching goal of the project is to enable better stratification of patients with Sickle Cell Disease for treatments, which are currently limited for this disease and do not work effectively for all patients. In addition Shivom will support clinical trials in this area and empower more medical organisations to create new healthcare opportunities for this disease. With more genetic information available to the scientific and pharmaceutical community, there will be increased opportunities to develop better treatments and ultimately work towards a cure for this disease.