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Pushing the personalized healthcare envelope
December 2015
by Lloyd Dunlap  |  Email the author
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SAN DIEGO—Human Longevity Inc. (HLI) recently launched the company’s first Health Nucleus, a genomics-powered clinical research project that HLI says has the potential to transform healthcare. The inaugural Health Nucleus is located in San Diego at HLI’s headquarters. More Health Nucleus facilities are slated to open in 2016 in other U.S. and international cities.
 
“We’re trying to focus our efforts on the diseases that kill people—cancer, heart disease and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s,” Pamila Brar, medical director of Health Nucleus, was quoted as saying in an article by Bruce Bigelow at Xconomy.com. Brar was previously affiliated with the Private Internal Medicine Center at Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, and has had her own concierge practice in internal medicine since 2009, Bigelow reported.
 
A privately held company, HLI was founded in 2013 by pioneers in the fields of genomics and stem cell therapy. HLI will be licensing access to its database and developing new diagnostics and therapeutics as part of their product offerings.
 
The Health Nucleus platform uses whole-genome sequence analysis, advanced clinical imaging and innovative machine learning—combined with a comprehensive curation of personal health history—to deliver what HLI is calling “the most complete picture of individual health.”
 
“The Health Nucleus is our opportunity to lead the way to genomic health, enabling individuals and their physicians to pivot towards a more proactive, preventative and predictive healthcare future,” according to Dr. J. Craig Venter, co-founder and CEO of HLI and the well-known name and face of the famed J. Craig Venter Institute, which has La Jolla and Rockville, Md., locations. “When I sequenced the first human genome in 2000, I saw the potential for a genomics-driven approach to healthcare, as I uncovered personal health-related insights I would have never otherwise known. The Health Nucleus is a critical step to realizing that potential and providing that kind of insight to individuals worldwide.”
 
The Health Nucleus is designed to provide a novel approach devoted to exploring, quantifying and beginning to understand as much as possible about individual health and disease risk. Supported by the world’s largest genome sequencing center and the leading experts in translating genomics data into clinically relevant information, this platform reportedly embodies HLI’s philosophies and ideas on how individuals can better understand their health. It is, according to HLI, the first center to combine genomics with a complete array of other clinical and biological measures, including:
  • Whole-human genome sequencing, spanning all six billion base pairs of DNA (most DNA tests examine less than 2 percent of the full genetic code);
  • Microbiome sequencing that quantifies the collective genomes of the microorganisms that live inside and on the human body (it is estimated that there are 10 times more microbial cells than human cells in our bodies);
  • Metabolome characterization, which enables measurement of the unique chemical fingerprints that cellular processes leave behind;
  • A comprehensive body MRI scan to screen for any abnormalities and provide a baseline for the future; and
  • Customized laboratory tests and screenings.
An experienced team of clinicians, geneticists and bioinformaticians will curate these data and produce an integrated report that can inform clients’ care. The Health Nucleus team will work hand-in-hand with the individuals and their physicians. As future risk associations are validated in the HLI database, a web-based portal will be updated with this curated information.
 
“When individuals sign up with the Health Nucleus, they’re enrolling in a year of health insight and analysis,” said HLI’s chief medical officer, Dr. Brad Perkins. “HLI is combining an advanced series of screens in partnership with primary care physicians, paired with a visit to our Health Nucleus facility, to generate a comprehensive look at personal data that will inform and impact care in new ways.”
 
HLI was founded to enhance the healthy, high-performance lifespan and is working to build the world’s largest, most comprehensive database of whole genome, phenotype and clinical data. From there, HLI’s team develops and applies large-scale computing and machine learning to make novel discoveries to benefit Health Nucleus guests and also pharmaceutical companies, insurers and healthcare providers worldwide.
 
The Health Nucleus is operating under an institutional review board-approved protocol but without FDA approval for many of its tests.
 
Unclear at present is how HLI foresees specific uses of results for many previously undiagnosed maladies from which its clients may be suffering. DDNews asked a company spokesperson, “What will be the nexus between diagnosis and treatment?” but received no response.
 
Code: E121520

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