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Kiwi biotech company using genetic testing to diagnose prostate cancer

development of a new prostate cancer test based on gene sequencing technology that could replace the inaccurate and outdated PSA blood test currently in use.

kristen_labHuman genome sequencing has sure come a long way, baby. The Human Genome Project, started way back in 1990, took 13 years to sequence the first human genome and cost a hefty $3 billion. Fast forward to today, and that same process can be performed in 24 hours and costs less than $1000.

But when it comes to hot-button ethical issues, they don’t come much hotter than the ethics of DNA sequencing. The subject quickly brings to mind uneasy visions of dystopian futures where the value of human life is reduced to the value of its DNA, where ‘geonism’, or discrimination based on genetic predisposition, is the norm.

That, however, is hardly the full picture when it comes to the perils and potential of Next-Gen Sequencing (NGS). Because on the other side of that problematic coin is the ability of Next Generation Sequencers to diagnose life threatening illnesses hyper-accurately and on a massive scale, allowing early intervention and treatment of otherwise intractable illnesses.

That’s the space which New Zealand biotech company Caldera Health is currently exploring, identifying biomarkers and developing sophisticated software diagnostic tools for revealing prostate cancers in men. The company is using Next-Gen Sequencing to identify and measure multiple different genetic markers that occur in prostate cancers, enabling medical staff to make more informed diagnoses and better decisions around treatment options.

Read the full Idealog article here