The belief that our DNA defines our fate seems to be changing as newer scientific data show that by changing eating behavior and lifestyle we can not only go against our genetic imperatives but also make them our allies. We are in this era where scientists can create complex genetic scores to evaluate hundreds of thousands of gene polymorphisms and suggest dietary interventions. For this purpose the Professor of Molecular Genetics and Nutrigenomics and Vice-Rector of Harokopio University Georgios Dedousis, with the contribution of the pathologist Dimitris Dellis, have created the spin-off Genome analysis, which is the first spin-off of Harokopio and the exclusive licensee of using know-how in the field of Molecular Nutrition produced in the Laboratories of the Department of Dietetics-Nutrition Science of the institution.
What is promoted by the spin-off in a completely scientifically documented way is a nutritional lifestyle based on the individual genetic profile, that is a personalized diet through DNA analysis. This is exactly what the company’s name reveals and this is exactly what is new that the public is looking for. “Our desire was to meet the need for genetic risk assessment for chronic diseases with personalized nutritional intervention and the provision of dietary proposals and personalized nutritional approaches with the reliability and validity of a university institution,” explains Professor Dedousis, who is considered an expert in a modern field, that of Nutrigenetics, which integrates systems biology and its applications into nutritional research. In fact, he has been included several times in the list of the most influential scientists worldwide, which results from the impact of his work over the last 11 years.
In Greece there are various DNA analysis centers that offer similar services to people who wish to lose weight. “Unfortunately, the services they offer do not usually lead to safe conclusions and the main reason is that they do not have prior scientific knowledge in the subject, so the answers they give are rough and incomplete and unreliable. We have a scientific knowledge acquired from many years of laboratory research. People, on the other hand, are not sufficiently informed and can be misled”, comments Mr. Dedousis, adding that the company is addressed to all those who wish to investigate any predisposition to chronic diseases and seek to change their lifestyle based on their DNA.
Evaluation by genetic score
Genome analysis, which this year joined Elevate Greece, uses technology based on more than 20 years of studies, scientific innovations and many scientific publications and its team applies it in two axes. The first concerns the provision of a comprehensive series of genetic analyses aimed at the early diagnosis and treatment of health disorders through the development of genetic algorithms, using machine learning techniques and the utilization of population data of the greek population that the group has in its bio-bank. It is worth noting that Genome analysis is a unique gene testing company that adapts genetic information to the greek population. The second axis of the company’s actions concerns the education in molecular nutrition and the training of professionals in the field of nutrition, doctors and sports agents. “We have developed a genetic algorithm of athletic performance and we train stakeholders to understand the results of the exams and communicate them to their clients”, adds the Professor.
According to the founder of the company, the main difficulty in creating and operating the spin-off was to find funding and already his team is in discussions with potential investors. In the company’s immediate plans is the development of genetic “tools” for the detection of multifactorial phenotypes and the evaluation of genetic scores and algorithms “We have created algorithms for the prediction of the diseases we study such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular, but also for the body’s reaction to dietary recommendations and interventions through DNA analysis. We are already putting this into practice. The aim is to develop diagnostic “tools” of genetic algorithms of as many phenotypes as we can, such as for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) also known as hyperkinetic syndrome, which is the most common neurobehaval disorder of childhood, and that is why we promote research partnerships with Europeans”, adds the greek researcher, pointing out that the value of the market in which the company operates is multi-million euros and that if all the tools it aims at are developed, in the next six months it will be the only one in Greece of its kind. The company’s commercial objectives include increasing revenue, the creation of new jobs for young researchers who wish to remain in our country (currently only two people are employed, one from the field of Bioinformatics and one from Nutrition) and the establishment of an office outside Greece.