The completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003 stimulated a race towards translating a momentous scientific effort into tangible socio-economic benefits, notably in the form of better diagnostic tests and enhanced therapeutic treatments.
In conjunction with this initiative, a new paradigm, Precision Medicine, emerged with a view to tailor the treatment of patients on the basis of more comprehensive molecular profiling of a disease. The new paradigm was strongly influenced by the concomitant emergence of new molecular laboratory applications, in particular next-generation DNA sequencing (NGS) technologies.
An entire genomics industry developed to generate technical innovations that led to a decrease in cost of sequencing from > USD 1bn for a genome to a few thousand USD today. Consequently, the need for converting a mass of molecular data into meaning rose dramatically, shifting the complexity in Genomics from generating new information to managing and interpreting diverse sets of data on an unprecedented scale.
Precision Medicine is fueled by the hope that new genomics applications will deliver deep insights into disease-causing molecular traits, therefore facilitating a more granular diagnosis of disease and a more effective choice of treatment. It is used today to develop and implement applications with advanced clinical utility in areas such as oncology, reproductive health, and pediatrics, contributing positively towards population health and individual well-being.
Yet, for the most part, cutting-edge Precision Medicine solutions are presently not available to the majority of (South) African patients. Among others, this has negative implications for clinical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Artisan Biomed aims to develop Precision Medicine in South Africa by virtue of implementing four distinct solutions:
Artisan Biomed is a subsidiary of the Centre for Proteomic & Genomic Research (CPGR). The CPGR is one of Africa's first fully integrated 'omics' service providers, built to leapfrog South Africa's ability to conduct information-rich biomedical research at a globally competitive level.
It is a non-profit company located in Cape Town, South Africa, based on an initiative by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), and supported with funding by the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA). The CPGR combines state-of-the-art information-rich genomic and proteomic ('omics') technologies with bio-computational pipelines to create unique solutions for the life and biomedical sciences. All its applications are run in an ISO 9001:2008 certified and an ISO 17025 compliant manner.
Considering a growing need for applications in non-communicable and rare genetic disorders, Artisan Biomed has a strong focus on rendering molecular testing services that generate actionable outcomes for doctors and patients.