Bangalore, Aug 8 IANS | 12 months ago

Super-specialty eye hospital Narayana Nethralaya has opened an advanced diagnostic facility in Health City on the outskirts of this tech hub for genetic testing of diseases at molecular level.


Set up at a cost of USD 5 million (Rs.30 crore) as a joint venture (JV) with the US-based genomics and diagnostics firm MedGenome, the hitech lab will be a one-stop solution to test any aspect of disease from molecular DNA to RNA to protein markers.

"The cell multi-omics diagnostic and research centre at the lab will cover genetics, gene testing, whole genome sequencing, gene expression microarrays, proteomics and immuno-histo-chemistry," Nethralaya chairman and managing director K. Bhujang Shetty told IANS here Thursday.

A patient with breast cancer symptoms can get checked at the lab and if the test is positive, female members of her family can also get diagnosed to take preventive steps for the mutations.

"Similarly, for the hereditary eye cancer retinoblastoma, we can identify the mutation and screen the entire family of the affected person to ensure better treatment and prevention," Shetty, a renowned opthamologist, asserted.

According to MedGenome chairman Sam Santhosh, testing for genetic or hereditary diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular, eye and neonatal disorders will help people to take healthcare seriously and undergo tests for early detection of any type of illness.

"Our mission is to make this testing available and affordable to people with cancers or genetic conditions and their families, while working towards guarding health," Santhosh pointed out.

The market for similar tests in India is still nascent, while it is a USD 5-billion market segment in the US already.

Clinicians and scientists can also avail the lab for their research activities as the tests include full gene analysis by DNA sequencing, which is the standard of genetic testing.

"We will make use of the next generation sequencing technology also to reduce the cost of genetic screening, as some tests include companion diagnostic tests to choose the right treatment option for dreadful diseases like cancer," Shetty observed.

The health partners are also collaborating to set up a protemic facility to analyse tiny molecules, metabolites, amino-acids and proteins for checking syndromes.

(Posted on 08-08-2013)