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Samitivej Genomic and Lifestyle Wellness Center in Bangkok

It was in 1980 that scientist Tom Roderick Ph.D., of the Jackson Institute, coined the term ‘genomics’, which should not be, even though it often is, confused with genetics. The term ‘genetics’ is much older, dating back to 1905 when English biologist William Bateson discovered and championed the 19th century work, traits and principles of inheritance, by Gregor Johann Mendel.

Genetics concerns itself with studying genes and their influence on inherited traits and medical disorders which are passed down through generations. Common hereditary diseases include phenylketonuria, a disease affecting the nervous system, Huntington’s disease, cancers and Cystic Fibrosis.

The more recently defined science of genomics looks at a person’s health issues may be defined by their genetics interacting with other factors in their environment. Heart disease, asthma and diabetes are typical of the type of diseases that can be determined through genetics, environment and lifestyle. It is this broader view of scientific study that is genomics.

Precision Diagnosis and Treatment

Through research and the studying of Inherited health issues the Samitivej Genomic and Lifestyle Wellness Center has been able to develop their precision diagnostics and treatment programs. Precision is the key to their approach, no two people are the same, and no two people will react in the same way to a particular drug or environmental stimulus.

Two people may have a similar health condition, undertake the same therapy and be prescribed the same drugs and dosage, and yet, their individual responses and outcomes to the treatment are very different. There are multiple reasons as to why this may happen. Only through precision diagnostics and treatment can these variables be addressed.

Not only are individuals exactly that, individual, but race can also play a part in applying the precision principle of diagnostics and treatment. For example, one specific gene, HLA-B 1502 is commonly found in populations of Southeast Asia, including those of Chinese and Indian backgrounds. Individuals with this particular gene are susceptible to allergic reactions, which can be fatal and include Stevens-Johnson syndrome, to some drugs that may be prescribed for certain mental illnesses or for gout.

Advanced genomics has enabled the Samitivej Genomic and Lifestyle Wellness Center to conduct precision screening of potentially fatal variances and to administer precisely targeted treatment to each individual. 

Precise screening as part of the diagnostic process is best done early in a person’s life, or in some cases and for some disorders, pre-natal. Chromosomic abnormalities that may affect mental development can be detected in a fetus, as can Down’s syndrome, multiple sclerosis, motor neuron disease, and many other serious conditions.

Many parents only discover that they have passed on a genetic defect after their child is born. This can be avoided at the family planning stage by expert screening by the professionals at the Samitivej Genomic and Lifestyle Wellness Center. With definitive screening results parents are more empowered to make informed choices and are able to better plan for the future care of their child.

Screening Suitability

Those suffering with chromosomic abnormalities or any genetic disorder are strongly advised to undertake genetic screening. There are multiple conditions which can be screened for, including, and not exclusively, Down’s syndrome, motor neuron disease, polycystic kidney disease, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and myasthenia gravis.

Cancers will always present a possible danger of being hereditary. Cancers such as breast, ovarian, gastrointestinal, pancreatic and prostate should be screened for, as should kidney, genitourinary and thyroid cancers. Anyone that has suffered any form of cancer during their lifetime should be screened.

Idiopathic conditions, to this day, remain an anomaly. Anyone suffering of an idiopathic condition should seek expert screening, these conditions may include, hyperlipemia, idiopathic chronic kidney failure, loss of vision or hearing, cardiac arrest, obesity, abnormal growth or autism.

The vast majority of people are in generally good health, but that does not mean they are not carrying a defective gene, one which they can pass on. It is advisable that everyone makes themselves aware of their own family’s health history. An individual may feel fit and healthy, but their own family history could be harboring a potential health issue of genetic origin.

Screening Methodology

The goals for genetic screening are three-fold, and simple. They are to confirm or dismiss the possibility of a genetic abnormality in an individual, to assess a person with an offspring, or family history of genetic disorders and pinpoint genetic issues in newborns, thus allowing treatment to be administered early.

Genetic screening entails the analysis of a person’s skin, hair, blood, and possibly other body tissue, in order to examine the individual’s DNA. Chromosomes and proteins can also be examined for any abnormalities or mutations. 

There are three principal methods of laboratory testing. Cytogenetics is utilized to look for structural abnormalities in the chromosomes of white blood cells, in particular the T lymphocytes which will have been harvested from a collected blood sample.

The second method is biochemical testing. The technicians study samples of body tissue, urine, blood, amniotic or spinal fluid to assess the enzymes’ status. It may be that an enzyme is absent or defective in its function. The physician can also examine the gene that is negatively affecting the enzyme.

The third is that of molecular testing. This includes a wide spectrum of tests specifically designed to molecules, or other aspects of genetic data, in a person’s DNA, these are referred to as ribonucleic acid, or RNA. These biomarkers take the form of genes or proteins and can help the doctor diagnose diseases, such as cancer and aid in predicting the likelihood of future health issues.

Modern medical technology, precision targeting techniques and a comprehensive understanding of genomics has catapulted the Samitivej Genomic and Lifestyle Wellness Center to the forefront of genetic disease diagnostics, prevention and treatment. The center has a unique level of understanding of the genetic variances, and their vulnerabilities, found across the globe.

The center receives patients from around the world, many of which seek the expertise of the center through recommendation or referral. Others have been transferred or referred to from government and corporate facilities from elsewhere in the kingdom, or from neighboring countries across Southeast Asia.

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