Strand at Mazumdar-Shaw (SAMS) is focused on bringing high-end molecular diagnostic tests that are affordable for the Indian diagnostics market. Of particular interest are technologies that use massively parallel targeted sequencing and genomics interpretation, to identify genetic variations underlying the causes of various diseases. Currently, state of the art genomic technologies are making an entry into clinical practice and being adopted in patient management in the West. However, these are still relatively new, and not affordable by the majority of patients in India. In addition, a majority of these tests have been developed based on studies in the Caucasian population cohorts, whereas the corresponding data from the Indian cohorts are mostly unavailable. SAMS is keen to develop the tests and conduct large studies in the Indian population leading to a large repertoire of data from the subcontinent. In addition to Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) tests, SAMS is also focused on developing inexpensive detection methods leading to point-of-care diagnostics. These would be useful to screen patients affected by infectious diseases such as Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) related cervical and head and neck cancers.

The key aims of the laboratory can be summarized as follows:

  • Bringing high-end genomics based molecular tests to the Indian market
  • Making sure that the above tests are cost effective for the Indian clinical practice and to achieve a wider acceptance
  • Generating, analyzing and collating data from the Indian patient population for cardiac diseases, hereditary and sporadic cancers, particularly those that are less frequent and under characterized in the Western populations (e.g. head and neck cancer)v
  • Standardizing assays for cheap detection leading to point of care diagnostics in infectious cancer diseases such as cervical and HPV induced head and neck cancers

Ongoing Projects:

  • BRCA1/BRCA2 and TP53 testing for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer sequencing panel

    Strand has developed a high throughput and a low cost ‘targeted deep sequencing assay’ for identifying hereditary mutations in BRCA1/2 and TP53 panels. The assay is undergoing analytical and technical validation at the SAMS laboratory. Simultaneously, ongoing R&D efforts are focused on scaling it to query 96 samples in parallel.

  • Comprehensive Somatic Cancer Targeted Sequencing Panel

    Strand is developing a 200 gene cancer panel for personalized therapy in somatic cancer, based on the molecular profile of the tumor. Panel design and assay standardization using FFPE block derived tumor DNA, are an ongoing effort.

  • HLA typing

    The Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) locus encompasses one of the most complex loci of the human genome and hosts numerous polymorphisms. Of these the Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genes encode cell surface antigen proteins involved in auto – immune responses and rejection of grafts and organ transplants. Hence, matching the donor and recipient loci reduce chances of failed transplantation. A panel for HLA typing for the organ transplantation clinic is currently being developed on Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technology.

  • HPV detection in cervical and head & neck cancer

    Standardization of assay protocol for the isolation and detection of HPV in urine samples of cervical cancer patients. Strand Life Sciences has been shortlisted by the SPARSH (DBT) program for a field study comparing a non-invasive urine based method of HPV detection, compared to the gold standard Digene HC2 test. The standardization of urine collection method, determination of analyte stability and sensitivity as well as exploring new technologies for detection are being developed at SAMS.

Future Projects:

  • Building a NGS based assay for leukemia lymphoma
  • HPV16 detection in head and neck cancer