Avesthagen Completes the First Whole Genome Sequence of a Parsi Breast Cancer Patient

By Avesthagen Limited., PRNE
Sunday, January 2, 2011

BANGALORE, India, January 3, 2011 - Avesthagen Limited has yet again established its position as a
leader in the successful application of next gen technologies as it announces
the completion of the first Parsi breast cancer whole genome sequence of a
74-year-old Parsi woman with a heritable form of breast cancer. The incidence
of breast cancer in most populations is strongly linked to a genetic basis
but little is known about the variants at the present time. By employing
whole-genome sequencing of affected individuals all genetic variants linked
to the disease can be identified. This will lead to a broader understanding
of breast cancer disease mechanisms, the development of new diagnostic tests,
and the discovery of new drug targets and design of drugs.

This study is part of The AVESTAGENOME Project(TM), a systems
biology based study on the Parsi population to determine the genetic basis of
longevity and age-related disorders. The whole genome sequencing is being
carried out in partnership with The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC), UK. The
TGAC team is employing the SOLiD(TM) 4 next-generation sequencing platform
(Applied Biosystems) to generate a draft sequence. Avesthagen's
bioinformatics experts will analyze and interpret the DNA sequence data and
work with international partners to integrate the data set with other
studies, so that it has the greatest possible impact.

Existing breast cancer diagnostic tests and drugs, focusing on
genetic variations in genes such as BRCA1 and HER2, address only a fraction
of breast cancer cases. A comprehensive understanding of all forms of breast
cancer and the risks posed to each individual can only be determined by
identifying all heritable genetic variations that occur in affected
individuals. This first sequencing of the genome of a Parsi breast cancer
patient is an important milestone in this effort. Whole genome sequencing for
additional breast cancer cases and other disease conditions is being carried

The Parsis are a distinct minority population living in India
and around the world with unique traits that include longevity, but also
predispositions to certain diseases, including breast cancer. By comparing
the genomes of Parsi individuals affected by breast cancer to healthy
individuals, both within the community and in the general population,
scientists will be able to identify those variations that are most likely to
be responsible for breast cancer. The samples collected to date enable
Avesthagen to assemble cohorts for a variety of diseases. The information so
developed in combination with well characterized genetic information provides
for accelerated new biomarker and drug discovery. Avesthagen is currently
focusing on Breast Cancer, Diabetes and Neurological disorders.

Commenting on these developments, Dr. Villoo Morawala-Patell,
Founder and CMD of Avesthagen, said: "With The AVESTAGENOME Project as
driver, Avesthagen intends to become the world leader in the development of
new cancer diagnostics and drugs and, and ultimately, the development of
personalized healthcare."

    Media Contact:

    Ishaan Khanna
    E: ishaan.khanna@avesthagen.com
    T: T: +91-(0)80-28411665

Media Contact: Ishaan Khanna, E: ishaan.khanna at avesthagen.com, T: T: +91-(0)80-28411665

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