Epigenetics and Insurtech Update 4-27-2018

 

Stanford research: Your immune system is in charge of how quickly you age

https://theoutline.com/post/4288/stanford-immune-system-epigenetics-aging-cancer-autoimmune-diabetes-research?zd=1&zi=yphnezcx

We’ve known for years that a person’s environment affects their body and health. On a basic level, the pathogens and viruses a person encounters, the drugs and antibiotics they take, as well as their diet, geographical location, exercise, or smoking habits all affect human health. This is important because people exposed to environmental risks—like air and water pollution or poor access to nutrition—are disproportionately more likely to be people of color. Now, scientists have begun to figure this out on a genetic level. In other words, how the environment interacts with the human body and changes the way cells make decisions. NOW… According to newly published research, Stanford scientists have the first concrete evidence that the environment accounts for 70% of how the immune system works and changes over time, which affects aging and how vulnerable people are to diseases.

https://www.genomeweb.com/mass-spec/single-cell-study-finds-chromatin-epigenetic-variability-rises-age

This story relates to the same study one as one cited above: “Our data provide insights about how aging affects the epigenomics landscape and the relative contribution of nature and nurture to chromatin dynamics in aging human cells,” the authors wrote.

10x Genomics raises $50M, secures $75M credit facility

https://www.fiercebiotech.com/medtech/10x-genomics-raises-50m-secures-75m-credit-facility

Seeking to unlock the stranglehold of Illumina!!! Competition is good! 

Rainbow Genomics, UCLA Partner to Offer Exome Dx in Asia

https://www.genomeweb.com/sequencing/rainbow-genomics-ucla-partner-offer-exome-dx-asia

 I just sent in my Color genomic test.  It’s comforting to know that the Chinese now have my DNA, but need UCLA to interpret. 

Illumina Accelerator backs five new companies

https://techcrunch.com/2018/04/26/the-genomics-focused-illumina-accelerator-backs-five-new-companies/

  • DermBiont, Inc., a drug discovery and development company, developing skin microbial therapeutics.
  • MedAnswers, Inc., which is using big data and genetics to match would-be parents with a curated network of fertility experts and solutions to achieve healthier fertility outcomes, faster.
  • Mediphage Bioceuticals, Inc., based on research from the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, this company is developing phage-based therapies to develop cures for chronic diseases.
  • TruGenomix Health, Inc., is a genomics company focused on advancing the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Unite Genomics, Inc., a data science spinout from Berkeley’s RISELab, uses machine learning for large-scale genomic analyses that can be applied in the biopharmaceutical and clinical research industries.

Ethicists struggle with the framework of mortality around genomic technology

http://www.insidesources.com/genomics-shadowland-ethics/

I say, what choice do we have, but to go forward with optimism and faith.  As the article points there are heady questions ahead: What should we think about Iceland’s near-elimination of Down Syndrome by genetic testing and abortion? Is it OK for prospective parents to choose their child’s gender in advance, raising the specter of the numerical imbalance already ripping at China’s social fabric? Do we want to precision-design our babies’ height, hair color, eye color, and IQ before birth? To what extent should we employ gene-editing to alter humans after they are born

ToolBox Genomics launches suite of DNA-based health and wellness products

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/toolbox-genomics-launches-expanded-suite-of-dna-based-products-to-support-consumer-health-and-wellness-300634259.html

Hawaii Ironman Championship in 2020 – here I come, with the aid of Toolbox!  This is going to be a cinch!!

Hartford Insurtech Hub Gives 10 Startups Shots at Partnerships with Insurers

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2018/04/23/486869.htm

If this doesn’t say it all: 10,000 start-up applicants worldwide, completed a 10-week program during which they worked with insurance and technology experts to develop their ideas. They were rewarded with $25,000 each, along with mentorship, partnership and pilot opportunities with leading insurance carriers within the Hartford community. WOW!!! $25,000 dollars and mentorship! Sign me up.

How insurers can think strategically about AI

https://www.dig-in.com/news/how-insurers-can-think-strategically-about-ai

This is hot off the press from the Global Insurance Symposium: When it comes to integrating AI, some employees can be reticent to have a machine take over some of the skilled work that they’re doing. Because AI was shown to save 750 man-hours a year with a team of lawyers that used to have to spend their time proofreading rather than helping develop new products.  Now why would employees and managers be reticent about a technology that will displace thousands of workers… this is terrifying! Unless of course you are the disruptor.