Personalised diagnostics for cancer and genetic diseases
VUS Diagnostics is on a mission to bring personalised treatment approaches to patients. We do this by designing CRISPR based functional assays that pinpoint the mechanism underlying the disease biology or drug response. Using such functional assays, we help drug developers identify the patients for whom their precision medicine can reverse disease pathology, or specifically kill cancer cells.
What’s a VUS?
VUS Diagnostics was born out of a desire to understand the functional impact of gene variants in genetic disease including cancers.
For cancers, some gene variants found in tumours are clearly harmful and can be targeted with drugs, such as deletions in BRCA1/2 that result in sensitivity to PARP inhibitors. However, for most clinically relevant genes, there is a long list of gene variants whose functional impact is hard to predict. Patients with such gene Variants of Unknown clinical Significance (VUS) are often not eligible for associated biomarker-targeted drugs. To make things even more complicated, for overcoming acquired drug resistance in cancers, or identifying personalised treatment approaches for rare genetic diseases, even well-established disease causing gene variants can be VUS variants for the drug response. This makes it difficult to decide whether patients with VUS mutations should be included in clinical trials.
To overcome the challenge of VUS variants and significantly help improve patient outcomes, we build cell models representing each patient and test these models in high throughput functional assays, thereby helping drug developers identifying the optimal treatment for their patients.
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