When facing an illness that is hard to diagnose, entrepreneur Anna Villarreal wondered if there could be a better way. One that was more tailored to the unique biology of women, who are often understudied in healthcare clinical trials, to diagnose certain illnesses.
Eventually, that led to her founding LifeStory Health, a Boston-based biotech startup that is developing technology to use menstrual blood to look for novel biomarkers of women’s health in the blood proteome (the set of proteins expressed by a certain type of cell).
The benefits of this approach are that menstrual blood is unique to women of childbearing ages, and it is readily available without having to send someone to a lab.
The sad fact is that for eons, this potentially valuable source of biological information has been flushed down the toilet or tossed into the trash.
Though still a young company, LifeStory Health already has patents pending on a novel biological mechanism that is based on modified proteins found in menstrual blood. These appear to arise from the unique hormonal cascade that is associated with women’s menstrual cycles.
This discovery offers a window on early-stage disease and treatment. The recurring cycle of generation of a unique diagnostic fluid allows for the recording of an individual specific wellness profile as well as a detailed comparison between individuals.
In order to determine if the collection technology they adapted was acceptable to women, the company tested it on more than 450 volunteers. Feedback was incorporated into the final product in which blood is applied to a disk-shaped device. The blood quickly dries so that it can be placed in a mailer and sent to the lab.
There, the blood is reconstituted and analyzed.
“We are absolutely committed to letting the data lead, which is counter-intuitive to the way the scientific investment community thinks,” said Villarreal.
However, this approach has led the company to uncover many scientific breakthroughs. They are on schedule with their patent-filing plan that will add dozens of opportunities to their preclinical portfolio.
This unique approach to medical diagnostics may one day be the go-to technology to diagnose and treat conditions that affect women.
Here’s a link to learn more about this innovative approach to women’s health.
For more information about Dr. Salber, please visit her at https://thedoctorweighsin.com/
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