With the launch of the country's first ever commercial genetic test for type 2 diabetes, Indians will now have access to clinically relevant and cost effective genetic risk assessment services. NutraGene, a Delhi based genomics company that launched the tests believes that its type 2 diabetes genetic test will provide physicians an effective tool in assessing the risk of diabetes in the Indian population and will help in implementing personalized prevention and management strategies.
India's Diabetes Epidemic
India faces a potential diabetes epidemic with the number of diabetics expected to increase from 61.3 million in 2011 to 101 million by 2030. Pre-diabetes, a state when an individual's blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be type 2 diabetes is also wide spread in India. Studies estimate that nearly 14 to 22% of the Indian population falls in the pre-diabetic condition, suggesting that pre-diabetes is more prominent in the Indian population than type 2 diabetes.
Indian Physicians Promote Genetic Screening
"Asian Indians develop type 2 diabetes at a younger age and have more complications. Hence, there is an immediate need to screen individuals at high risk of diabetes using simple, innovative and cost-effective measurements," said Dr. (Prof.) Anoop Misra, Executive Chairman of Fortis Center of Diabetes, Obesity, Metabolic Diseases and Endocrinology (Fortis C-DOC). "Guidance towards appropriate and personalized preventive strategies could be provided by genetic tests," he added.
Dr Sushum Sharma, Director of Preventive Health Program at Max Healthcare echoed Dr Misra's words and said genetic testing can identify individuals at high risk and even quantify their risk of developing chronic diseases. He said NutraGene's genetic tests hold tremendous potential, as integrating these tests with preventive healthcare check-ups can significantly improve the quality of healthcare in India.
Anubhav Anusha, Managing Director of NutraGene said his company was dedicated to promoting genomics in India from the perspective of both commercial genetic tests and India-specific genomics research. Retail genomics is poised to be the next major contributor to growth within the Indian clinical diagnostics industry, which is expected to reach INR 10,000 crores this year, he added.
NutraGene has partnered with pharmaceutical companies and hospital networks in India, and is in the process of commercializing its genetic tests to over 10,000 clinicians across India.
Getting Tested With NutraGene
NutraGene's type 2 diabetes genetic test is one of several genetic risk assessment tests currently being offered by NutraGene. The company is already offering genetic screening services for chronic conditions such as coronary heart disease, hypertension, stroke, obesity, and medication sensitivities for clopidogrel, warfarin, tamoxifen, metformin etc.
NutraGene's genetic tests are based on a cheek swab sample that allows for quick and needle-free sample collection, and enables NutraGene to deliver a nationalized and door-to-door sample collection service. Whether at home, at work or in a physician's clinic, NutraGene's genetic testing services are within easy reach of all people from tier 1, tier 2, and tier 3 cities, said Anubhav.
NutraGene's genetic tests are cost-effective with the type 2 diabetes genetic test priced at under INR 8,000. NutraGene also provides complimentary genetic counseling and wellness consultations with every test.
NutraGene's genetic tests can either be purchased directly online at www.NutraGene.com or be collected from a physician's clinic.
Science behind NutraGene's Type 2 Diabetes Genetic Test
One of the sequence variants detected by NutraGene's type 2 diabetes genetic test is a single nucleotide polymorphism (a single base variation in the sequence of the DNA) in the TCF7L2 gene on chromosome 10. Published gene-disease association studies conducted on thousands of people from the Indian population and over 40 others from across the world have validated the TCF7L2 genetic marker as one of the most significant genetic risk factors yet known for type 2 diabetes. Studies show that between 8-11% of the general population have been shown to carry two copies of the risk variants, but type 2 diabetics are roughly twice that number. In other words having two copies of the TCF7L2 variant - has been shown to approximately double the likelihood of type 2 diabetes.
Published research has also demonstrated that genetic variations screened in NutraGene's type 2 diabetes genetic test can identify individuals at higher than average risk of converting from a pre-diabetic state to full-blown diabetes.
The genetic risk for type 2 diabetes determined by NutraGene is largely independent of clinical risk factors such as family history, pre-diabetes, and obesity; making it clinically useful in both patients with and without family history of diabetes.