Second Genome Collaborates with VCU to Develop Diagnostic Biomarker for NASH

Second Genome is a tech-enabled biotech company that extracts microbial genetic insights to guide their transformational precision therapies and biomarkers. They find these insights using their proprietary platform – sg-4sight. Recently, they have announced a research collaboration with Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) as they work to generate a non-invasive stool-based composite biomarker for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). 

Second Genome will use their sg-4sight discovery engine’s machine learning capabilities to identify composite biomarkers that can diagnose patients with NASH who have advanced fibrosis. This will require the characterization of the GI microbial taxa and microbial transcriptome in NASH. They will also characterize these taza in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) patients. VCU’s Dr. Arun Sanyal, a professor of Medicine, Physiology, and Molecular Pathology, will provide geographically diverse patient samples, clinical meta-data, liver biopsy images and a biorepository. Once Second Genome identifies the biomarker, the model will be clinically validated in patients enrolled in the VCU biorepository.

The present gold standard diagnosis for patients living with NASH is a highly invasive liver biopsy with critical side effects. Dr. Sanyal says there is a significant need to advance non-invasive diagnostic approaches and believes Second Genome’s machine learning capabilities and microbial expertise will be key to developing a non-invasive diagnostic marker. 

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