Geneoscopy has developed a novel methodology to reliably and consistently extract human RNA transcripts from stool samples and detect changes in gene expression. This provides Geneoscopy a platform to harness the power of RNA to detect, prevent, and guide treatment for gastrointestinal disease. Geneoscopy is currently developing a diagnostic test for the prevention of colorectal cancer and is conducting research on other applications of its technology for tangential indications.
DNA mutations can demonstrate hereditary risk or predict the likelihood of developing a specific disease, but they cannot provide phenotypic or quantitative information related to the symptoms of disease or the body’s molecular response. This information is necessary for clinical decision making and better health outcomes. RNA provides a real-time snapshot of what is occurring in the body, allowing for accurate interpretation of DNA variants and a better assessment of the patient’s health status.
Human cells are constantly being shed from the gastrointestinal lining and passed in the stool. For common gastrointestinal diseases (colorectal cancer, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease), these cells have the unique capability to provide early warnings signs and critical information about the condition long before the release of molecular signals into the bloodstream or other parts of the body.
Analysis of human RNA biomarkers from stool samples is extremely difficult due to extensive bacterial noise and heavy signal degradation. Bacterial cells outnumber human cells at a ratio of 100:1, making isolation of the human signals challenging. Further, the single-stranded nature of RNA makes it less stable and hard to preserve. These characteristics limit the effectiveness of high throughput sequencing and targeted pull-down for downstream applications. Geneoscopy's extraction method eliminates bacterial noise, enriches for human signals, and effectively preserves intact RNA.
Compared with DNA biomarkers, RNA biomarkers have the advantage of providing dynamic insights into cellular states and regulatory processes.
RNA has multiple copies in a cell, which delivers more information than DNA.
– MDPI Review
Colorectal cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer-related deaths, resulting in over 50,000 deaths annually. Colorectal cancer’s high mortality rate is due, in part, to flaws in existing methodologies to screen for the disease. Colonoscopies are the gold standard for detection, but they require patients to take time off from work and to undergo an inconvenient bowel preparation, so many patients avoid them. On the other hand, existing noninvasive alternatives are unreliable due to low accuracy rates.
Geneoscopy has used its platform technology to develop a stool-based, multi-target RNA biomarker panel that can accurately identify colorectal cancer by capturing the downstream effects of cancer-causing DNA mutations. The result is a diagnostic test that can improve colorectal cancer screening compliance, facilitate early-stage detection of colorectal cancer neoplasms, and reduce morbidity and mortality associated with the disease.
Metastatic, or stage IV colon cancers, have a 5-year relative survival rate of about 11%.
Overall, the lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is: about 1 in 21 (4.7%) for men and 1 in 23 (4.4%) for women
– American Cancer Society
Andrew began his career as a financial analyst in J.P. Morgan’s healthcare investment banking group, working primarily on M&A and capital markets transactions in the biotech, medical devices, and life science tools sectors. Subsequently, he worked as an associate at Lindsay Goldberg, a middle-market private equity firm focused on providing long-term growth capital to family owned businesses. As an undergraduate at Cornell University, Andrew studied Applied Economics & Management with a specialization in finance. He also received an MBA from The Wharton School, with majors in Health Care Management and Entrepreneurial Management.
Erica graduated from Cornell University in 2013 with a dual degree in Biological Sciences and Applied Economics & Management. She started her career as a research technician at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, where she was engineering the staple food crop in Africa to be more nutritious. She then began working at the Washington University School of Medicine to develop a noninvasive diagnostic test to evaluate children in Africa with Environmental Enteropathy Disease. Currently, she is in her fourth year of the MD/PhD Program at the Washington University School of Medicine where her PhD concentration is in Genetics and Genomics.
Yiming is interested in data mining and genome analysis. He was a biomedical engineer by training, who developed analysis tools to automatically extract features from medical imaging data. After receiving his Bachelor’s from University of Utah and Master’s from Cornell University, Yiming shifted his academic focus to genome science. His research has mainly been concentrated on machine learning approaches to tackle genomic network topics at the Center for Genome Sciences & Systems Biology. He is pursuing a PhD degree in Computer Science at Washington University in St. Louis.
Elizabeth graduated from Saint Louis University in 2010 with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering and a minor in Engineering Mathematics. She received her PhD in Environmental Engineering from the University of Cincinnati in 2016. Her graduate work focused on the creation of the fusion protein StrepMiniSOG and its application to solar based disinfection methods. Elizabeth’s other work includes a viral RNA detection system using Duplex Specific Nuclease and a microbial source tracking method based on field work on Lord Howe Island in Australia. She has been with Geneoscopy since December 2016.
Bradley is an incoming medical student interested in the intersections of healthcare, business, and technology. He graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 2015 with a degree in Biology and Psychology. As an undergraduate, he worked as a research technician at the Washington University School of Medicine studying the cardioprotective effects of fibroblast growth factor signaling in the context of myocardial infarction. He will be attending the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Fall 2018. He has been with Geneoscopy since June 2017.
All disease begins in the gut.
– Hippocrates, ∼400 BC
Digestive health is about having guts. Some don’t have the stomach for it.
– Geneoscopy Team, 2017 AD