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Home Genomics

Genomics is the study of the expression, regulation and function of an entire set of genes, the functional units of biological information embedded in the DNA. During gene expression, those functional units are transcribed into messenger RNA (mRNA). The mRNA is then further translated into proteins, the large molecules that are involved in most biological processes. Even before the completion of the sequencing of the human genome in 2001, genomics were, and continue to be, used to examine and characterize diseases on a molecular level.

Using high-throughput gene expression analysis techniques, scientists can assess simultaneously the expression of more than 40,000 mRNAs in any particular patient sample (blood, or tissue). By profiling the gene expression patterns and performing a quantitative analysis of the mRNA, scientists increasingly understand the underlying mechanisms of disease.  Such an understanding provides us with potential diagnostic and prognostic tests and therapeutic targets through the development of unique gene expression “signatures" of disease.

Technology improvements and decreasing costs have aided the implementation of genomic diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic tools in health care. For example, genomic analysis has led to the identification of genes associated with various cancers that predict patient prognosis, thereby assisting in optimizing treatment for those patients.

Med BioGene and Precision Therapeutic's GeneFx® Lung is a genomics-based test for early-stage non-small-cell lung cancer that analyzes the molecular profile of a patient’s tumour to provide information to assist in tailoring treatment for that specific patient.  GeneFx Lung is the only multi-gene test shown to improve upon staging in quantifying a patient’s risk of mortality and potentially correlate with the likelihood of chemotherapy benefit.

Genomics is different from “genetics".  Genetics is the study of how traits are inherited from one generation to the next through genes, and how new traits are generated by way of genetic mutations or changes.  For example, the detection of mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes assesses a woman's risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer.  This genetic test has become the standard of care in identification of individuals with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, but is different from genomic tests like GeneFx Lung.

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