The genetics firm has progressed in technologies for early cancer detection
Femto Research Group Co., Ltd. set up a laboratory in 2006, inspired by the success of The Human Genome Project (HGP) three years earlier. It focused mainly on germline or inherited mutations in heart diseases and cancers. Upon its establishment, Femto Research Group became the first private genetic testing lab in the healthcare system in Thailand.
For more than a decade, Femto Research Group's research-based laboratory has focused on research and development (R&D) that aims to provide innovative services. These services are expected to benefit the healthcare community while attempting to comply with the goals announced by the HGP and Human Microbiome Project (HMP). In Asia, Femto Research Group's unique Plasma DNA tests are available only at Femto Lab. On the other hand, the unique “Plasma Microbiome” test is now commercially available only at Femto Lab at the global level.
On the business side, Femto Research Group considers its self-funding R&D as its prime achievement. On the academic side, meanwhile, the firm wants people to eventually realise that “health destiny” can be changed with high precision, without random trial and error, using their own DNA information as a most reliable tool. Because of these reasons, Femto Research Group won the Healthcare Asia Awards 2018 for Service Innovation of the Year.
Femto Research Group has also developed various innovative technologies. In 2009, Femto Lab developed an early cancer detection technique for non-sick individuals (for prevention), cancer-cured individuals (for follow up), and cancer patients (for targeted therapy). This is done by detecting somatic mutations in cancer cells upon replacing invasive tissue block technique with non-invasive “Plasma DNA (liquid biopsy)” using just blood samples. This led to Femto Lab winning "The Most Interesting Technology for Investment Award" from the Ministry of Science and Technology during the NSTDA Investors' s Day in 2011. In 2013, Femto Research Group was able to successfully see cancer DNA at the femto level dilution.
Infection can lead to the development and progression of cancer and affect the host's response to therapy. Approximately 20% of total cancers worldwide are caused by microbial infection. This information and the success of the Human Microbiome Project in 2012 led Femto Research Group to develop “Plasma Microbiome” and “Gut Microbiome” tests. Both attempt to directly identify somatic mutations caused by microbial genome insertion into human genome, using the tumor suppressor gene TP53 (p53) as a sensor gene. Femto Lab has successfully launched the “Plasma Microbiome” service since December 2016. The “Gut Microbiome” service, on the other hand, is currently underway.
For “Plasma Microbiome”, while the TP53(p53) marker can help identify cancer patients who can either respond to or resist DNA-damaging chemotherapy and radiation, the TP53 sensor part will help identify microbial DNA as a transmittable and curable cancer cause. At the medical tourism conference, “Thailand: A Paradise for Longevity” at the Amazing Thailand Health and Wellness Showcase 2017, Femto Research Group's presentation showed the microbial DNA insertions into the TP53(p53) gene of some cancer patients.
The Healthcare Asia Awards 2018 was held on 23 May 2018 at the Conrad Centennial Singapore.
This year's nominations were judged by a panel consisting of Abhay Bangi, Partner, Life Sciences & Healthcare Lead, Ernst & Young; Mohit Grover, Life Sciences & Healthcare Leader,
Deloitte, and; Sabrina Tay, Partner and Deputy Industry Lead, Healthcare RSM Singapore.
Check out the event photos during the awards night here.
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