Unlocking the molecular keys through biomarker discovery
Central to the Wyss DxA’s diagnostic assay development process, and one of its organizational branches, is its Biomarker Discovery Laboratory (BDL). The development of new diagnostic tests critically hinges on the identification, quality, and accessibility of new biomarkers that unambiguously identify a disease or disorder, and upon which diagnostic assays can be built.
These disease signatures can be genome features, RNA molecules, proteins, and metabolites whose concentrations, locations and exact compositions undergo specific changes in disease progression and help draw the line between a “healthy state” and a “pathological state” that may require further observation or a therapeutic intervention. By comparing patient-derived samples from healthy and sick individuals, BDL carries out an extensive survey of these genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic, and metabolomic biomarkers of disease.
BDL uses cutting-edge computational methods applicable to both traditional data and Big Data analysis, by taking deep learning, statistical, and other approaches to identify truly informative biomarkers and biomarker combinations as disease signatures. Once the correlation between the signature and the patient condition is verified, the Wyss Institute’s broad engineering capabilities are mobilized for the development of new and effective diagnostic assays.
Our Current Projects
In endometriosis, the tissue that normally lines the inside of the womb also grows outside of it. This devastating disease affects roughly 10% (190 million) of reproductive age women and girls globally. It often takes years for endometriosis to be diagnosed as the cause of these problems. Working with expert clinicians we plan to discover novel blood-based biomarkers and develop better and accessible diagnostics for endometriosis.
Endometriomas are cystic lesions and are a severe stage of the endometriosis. Approximately, 17-44% of those with endometriosis will experience endometrioma. Working with expert clinicians we plan to discover novel blood-based biomarkers and develop better and accessible diagnostics for endometriomas.
The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2023, approximately 20,000 new cases of ovarian cancer will be diagnosed and more that 13,000 will die from this devastating disease. Working with expert clinicians we plan to discover novel blood-based biomarkers for diagnosing ovarian cancer at an early stage.
Preoperative Blood Clot Prediction
Surgery is a risk factor for developing life threatening blood clots post-surgery. In the context of mesothelioma cancer, we are working with expert clinicians to develop a blood-test to accurately predict who may get blood clots after surgery.
Placenta accreta is defined as abnormal trophoblast invasion of part or all of the placenta into the myometrium of the uterine wall. Maternal morbidity and mortality can occur because of severe and sometimes life-threatening hemorrhage, which often requires blood transfusion. Rates of placenta accreta are increasing and there is an acute need for better diagnostics. Working with expert clinicians we are developing such a test.
All antiretroviral drugs (ARTs) are at risk of becoming partially or fully inactive due to the emergence of drug-resistant HIV virus. Working with expert clinicians we are attempting to understand the mechanism behind HIV drug resistance.