We help healthy people, who just want to maintain or increase their overall wellness and people with any type of cancers as well as many other diseases such as Alzheimer’s, autism, diabetes, and autoimmune diseases. In today’s medical system, people with cancer and other serious illness often seek help outside the mainstream only after the system has failed them. They make heroic attempts to save themselves at this stage, but it is usually too late.
In genetic testing, some patients may opt for single gene or deeper genetic analysis, looking at multiple genes, or to look at all 21,000 genes in the human exome. While the exome is important, it actually represents a mere 1.5% of our genome. The genome, in other words, contains a great deal of information other than merely the genes. In the past, this vast majority of the genome was not understood. It is now understood to contain many layers of information involved in regulating and modifying how the genome is “expressed”, or put into action. IRIS believes that it is best to look at the whole genome, gene expression, and specific protein activities, while taking into account family medical history, lifestyle and environmental influences if we are to optimize our health and wellness.
Biology 101 – DNA, RNA, and Protein
Biology 101 – DNA, RNA, Protein, Life Style, and Environment
It took $3 billion, 2,000 scientists, and 13 years to sequence the first human reference genome. It took another 13 years to reduce the price of a genome to just a few thousand dollars. It now costs more to fully analyze a genome than to sequence one. IRIS offers competitive prices and gives you more than our competitors by giving you a comprehensive analysis of your genome, your life style and environmental influences affecting your overall wellbeing. We will work with you whatever your budget may be to provide the level of service you are looking for. We can help you see your DNA before you get any disease, look for trends of developing disease, understand your options in getting the best treatment for your disease, detect disease recurrence early, and get preventive or early treatment.
Example 1: Breast Cancer
Although various kinds of medical screening are commonly practiced today, the practical value is sometimes quite low. For example, with breast cancer, most women under 50 have been subjected to regular mammograms for years, while relatively few actually benefit from this screening. Some with a family history of breast cancer choose to get genetic testing for the BRCA gene, which could indicate that they have an increased breast cancer risk. However, being a carrier of a mutated gene does not necessarily mean one will get the disease.
Personal and family medical history, life style, and environmental exposures all influence us in health and illness. These factors are all integrated into specific recommendations for diet and behavior modifications that may reduce a woman’s breast cancer risk.
In addition to well-studied variants of the BRCA1 and 2 genes predisposing women to breast cancer, several lesser known genetic variants can also influence breast cancer susceptibility via effects on DNA repair, immune surveillance, and other biological processes. Screening of healthy women for these gene variants using targeted or whole genome sequencing strategies can alert individuals and their health care providers to the advisability of more frequent and/or more thorough check-ups.
If a malignant lesion is found, targeted or whole genome sequencing of biopsied tumor tissue can reveal oncogenic driver mutations that may make the tumor susceptible to more specific and less toxic therapies. Gene expression profiling can complement genome sequencing by determining active signaling pathways (e.g., estrogen, Her2) that can be blocked with targeted drugs such as Tamoxifen or Herceptin.
Such testing can also identify variations in drug-metabolizing enzymes that may affect the concentration of active drugs circulating in a patient’s bloodstream to reach a tumor. In addition, profiling of the numbers of specific types of immune cells and their gene expression in blood and tumor tissues can yield information about a patient’s own ability to recognize and fight off a malignancy.
Molecular analysis of early stage tumors can yield information about whether procedures such as surgery and radiation are likely to be sufficient for tumor eradication, or whether adjuvant therapies should be employed. After surgery, periodic monitoring of blood for circulating tumor cells and/or cell-free tumor DNA can lead to the early detection of recurrences while there is still time to deploy additional treatment strategies.
Profiling of metastatic lesions, when they arise in late stage malignancies, may reveal vulnerabilities not present in the primary tumor, can be used to prolong the period of progression-free survival.
A recent publication shows that “different bacterial profiles in breast tissue exist between healthy women and those with breast cancer. Higher relative abundances of bacteria, that had the ability to cause DNA damage in vitro, were detected in breast cancer patients, as well as a decrease in some lactic acid bacteria, known for their beneficial health effects, including anti-carcinogenic properties. This study raises the important question as to the role of the mammary microbiome in modulating the risk of breast cancer development.
So, what is the human microbiome and what does it have to do with my health?
Despite what most of us think we are all walking ecosystems. For every cell that is “you” and that is approximately 37 trillion cells, you have at least that many microbes, primarily in your gut. A few microbes cause disease, which are the ones we’ve focused on for the past 150 years, but most are harmless and many are essential for good health.
These microbes have numerous beneficial functions in supporting life such as digesting food, preventing disease-causing pathogens from invading the body, synthesizing essential nutrients and vitamins and training our immune system. With the advancement of next generation sequencing, the capacities of what some are calling your “second genome” can now be evaluated. Changes in the microbiome can trigger changes in human cellular activities, resulting in disease or contribute to its progression.
The NIH’s Human Microbiome Project discovered that “Microbes contribute more genes responsible for human survival than humans’ own genes. It is estimated that bacterial protein-coding genes are 360 times more abundant than human genes.
How Can IRIS Wellness Labs help?
With over a decade of research behind us, we can point out various tests and treatments available for breast cancer and how best to use the information to optimize a patient’s overall health and wellbeing. Armed with the information from IRIS, the patient and their doctor can then make better, more informed medical decisions.