ISB News

Dr. Andrew Magis: Identifying Markers for Cancer Years Before Diagnosis

Through blood and other biological samples, ISB scientists have shown they can identify markers for cancer years before diagnosis. This was the topic of a recent Research Roundtable presentation delivered by Dr. Andrew Magis, Director of Data Science in ISB’s Health Data Science Lab.

Prior to his current role at ISB, Magis was the Director of Research at Arivale, a consumer wellness company that spun out of ISB in 2015, and shuttered in 2019. During that time, Arivale collected multi-omic data and provided personalized coaching to reduce the risk for disease and improve wellness. Arivale patients provided blood samples every six months, as well as saliva and stool samples. They collected this data and biobanked samples from about 5,000 Arivale participants, of which 94 percent granted consent to have their data used for research.

Magis and his research colleagues have used that data to generate novel findings. In his presentation, Magis detailed three separate cases where his team identified metastatic cancer in patients well before clinical diagnosis.

“In my lab at ISB, we are very interested in inferring disease transitions from multi-omic data, and including this type of ‘n-of-1’ data based on longitudinal observations,” Magis said.

While this approach isn’t ready for deployment in the clinic, he said it is an active area of research.

You can watch Magis’s full presentation by hitting play on the video at the top of this page, or by clicking here.

Research Roundtables

ISB is hosting a series of Research Roundtable conversations throughout 2021. These events are free and open to all, are designed for a lay audience, and provide opportunities to ask questions directly to our scientists.

Next up in our series is Dr. Jake Valenzuela, who on October 5 will discuss how systems biology can help save coral reefs and what we can do about it. Please sign up for this event here

Past Research Roundtable events have featured genomics pioneer and ISB Co-founder Dr. Lee Hood, microbiome specialist and ISB Assistant Professor Dr. Sean Gibbons, Alzheimer’s disease expert and ISB Senior Research Scientist Dr. Jared Roach, and immunology expert and ISB Associate Professor Dr. Naeha Subramanian. You can read about their talks and watch their presentations here, here, here and here, respectively. 

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