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DNA Health Monitoring Campaign Launched

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 11 Feb 2014
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A DNA health test aims to assist in prevention of diseases associated with DNA damage and poor DNA repair.

The Berkeley-based startup, Exogen Biotechnology (CA, USA), has launched a unique citizen science campaign on Indiegogo, a global “crowd funding” website (San Francisco, CA, USA). The campaign is based on a laboratory test, which measures DNA breaks, the most lethal type of DNA damage and a potentially key indicator for overall health conditions. Launched on January 25, 2013, the project raised USD 20,000 in “crowd funding” within its first three days.

The technology measures physical breaks in the DNA of cells, which commonly result from an individual's lifestyle, environmental toxins, or personal genetics. The startup from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory envisions that its DNA health monitoring technology will one day be as commonplace as a cholesterol test. The DNA health test aims to assist in prevention of diseases associated with DNA damage and poor DNA repair.

Exogen is allowing the public to assist in funding its large-scale citizen scientist project as well as gain access to the technology that is not yet available to the public. Supporters receive a kit that allows funders to safely collect three blood samples via sterile finger pricks. Blood samples are then mailed to Exogen’s proprietary research lab and analyzed either as a one-time event or on a regular basis throughout the year. The blood is processed for DNA damage and the results are made available back to the funder, securely and privately via a protected web application.

The core team behind the project is comprised of Dr. Sylvain Costes and Dr. Jonathan Tang, who are experts in understanding the link between ionizing radiation, DNA damage, and cancer induction. They developed this leading-edge technology over the past 10 years at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Dr. Tang commented, “Breaks in our DNA occur frequently, and our bodies repair them every day. However, as we age, the efficiency of how our bodies repair DNA breaks seems to weaken. This decline in repair efficiency can lead to accumulation of unrepaired DNA or misrepaired DNA, which may result in unpredictable and potentially lethal genetic mutations. Exogen hopes that monitoring DNA for breaks will allow individuals to assess the impact of various lifestyles and environments on their overall health and aging.”

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Exogen Biotechnology


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