Characterizing Cancer: Quantgene’s Jo Bhakdi Talks Cutting-Edge Data Analysis for Early Detection


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Aug 10 2020 45 mins   7

Returning guest Jo Bhadi discusses using new platforms and technologies to predict cancer probability as well as what he’s learned about how cancer evolves. He also discusses how Quantgene seeks to serve its customers.

He addresses

  • How Quantgene uses the human genome sequence, artificial intelligence, liquid biopsies, and other technology platforms to identify cancer patterns;
  • How they’ve put together a monthly subscription turnkey service for early cancer detection; and
  • How cancer itself develops and how they approach detection with this layering of different types of information to achieve a specificity of detection above 90%.

Jo Bhakdi started Quantgene in 2015 at a UC Berkeley Lab with a goal of early disease detection. The company uses quantitative science for a new level of precision. They started in cancer detection spaces using cell-free DNA sequencing with what is known about the human genome sequence. They saw a tremendous opportunity opening up based on new technology platforms, sequencing, and AI recognition algorithms.

In a nutshell, they pursued how to look at cell-free DNA shed by cancer in the bloodstream and recognition patterns to identify the 15 most deadly cancers. They sell their services directly to patients but include physicians and genetic counselors in the process.

He explains their business model in further detail but also covers the complications of detecting and understanding cancer progression, from the heterogeneity of tumors to advantages of cell-free DNA sequencing compared to tumor biopsies. He explains the systemic insight into cancer a liquid biopsy offers. He describes other limitations of tumor biopsies and how the question of heterogeneity of a tumor is surprisingly complex.

In fact, he adds that the whole concept of quantifying tumor heterogeneity is a very new concept. He describes many characteristics of cancer and its evolution in more detail and then addresses how Quantgene layers many degrees of information, including medical and genetic history, to produce a highly precise probabilistic model.

For more about the company, see quantgene.com. To find out about the direct-to-consumer service, see chooseserenity.com.

Available on Apple Podcasts: apple.co/2Os0myK