Utilizing scientific advances in DNA risk analysis, optiphi® has launched a groundbreaking breast cancer tendency test and later this year, geneticists at the locally founded skin care brand will roll out other tests to help individuals assess whether they are predisposed to various diseases, including prostate cancer! The results of the tests will also assist in suggesting lifestyle and nutritional changes that could improve health and wellness, since these play an important role in whether the disease manifests itself or not. Each test uses the individual’s genetic blueprint to determine the risk of the disease.
optiphi®’s parent company, the Southern Medical Group is a local bio-medical engineering firm specializing in tissue engineering, biotechnology and microbiology. Since 1987 it has successfully pioneered and exported surgical implant products globally and developed dental, orthopaedic and neurosurgical implants for South Africa. In 2009 its ‘Skin Rejuvenation Technologies’ division launched optiphi®, a results-orientated skincare brand for consumers, developing skincare products underpinned by knowledge gained in developing wound and skincare products for burn victims to fast-track skin rejuvenation. optiphi® is known for their deep understanding and scientific approach to delivering
results and is successful and trusted in the market.
As part of its ongoing commitment to remain forerunners in medical science breakthroughs, the introduction to gene-based tests is the next logical step for optiphi®. Since breast cancer currently affects about one in eight women globally at some point in their lives, this test comes at the right time for South Africans! Although rare for males, around one percent of breast cancer cases do occur in men. In South Africa it’s one of the two most common cancers experienced by women; amongst white and Asian females it is the most prevalent and the second most common for those females in the black and coloured communities.
In 2017, former National Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi declared breast cancer a national priority and whilst generally cancer isn’t an inherited disease, when it involves breast cancer, inheriting a mutated* BRCA1 or BRCA 2 gene (which brings on the disease) is the underlying cause in 5 – 10 out of 100 cases.
The optiphi® test looks at an exclusive panel of higher penetrance markers across seven genes that raise the odds in breast cancer risk significantly, according to global research. For every mutation detected, the risk increases statistically.
Scientists are learning new aspects about cell mutations every day and the company – with its trailblazing geneticists – is committed to keeping abreast of all these findings and to refining their tests going forward.
Why the optiphi® Tests are Noteworthy
How optiphi® is bringing these gene-based tests out is key. For the first time any individual, 18 years or older will be able to have access to these tests through a trusted doctor or healthcare practitioner. It will be much more affordable than before and less invasive since it is a saliva-based swab test that involves no more than placing a swab on the inside of both cheeks for a few seconds. A few days later the results are returned as a detailed report, including practical steps for the individual to discuss with the healthcare practitioner. This specific combination of factors makes it a pioneering achievement, one that will enable more people to take better control of their overall health and wellness.
Dr Samantha Baron, Head of Genetics at Skin Rejuvenation Technologies, explains: “To date, a costly gene test to determine predisposition to breast cancer has only been available from limited medical laboratories for candidates with a family history of breast, ovarian and prostrate cancer. optiphi® is determined to make our risk screening DNA tests readily available from all trusted healthcare practitioners to anyone aged 18 and over, offering a risk score with actionable interventions to create awareness of breast, ovarian and prostate cancers.”
It can be complicated knowing the health history of both your parents and both sets of their parents also. Even if you are certain that no-one on either side has had or will not get breast cancer, without a genetic test you cannot be assured that you have not inherited a mutated gene. Each human inherits exactly half of their genes from either parent, meaning that we have two copies of each gene; one from either parent. Everyone inherits a BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 gene. If inherited in an unmutated form these genes play a positive role in the repairing of cell damage and assist other cells to age healthily.
Almost every cell in the body has a nucleus which stores DNA. This is translated into proteins which allows the body to function in certain ways. If the DNA being translated has a mutation, the protein might look or function a little differently to how it should. How the individual acts to speed up, slow down or prevent this process makes all the difference. In the short, medium and long term, it will determine both the quality and quantity of life, and ultimately, of the lives passed on to children and grandchildren.
Consider also that early detection and early effective treatment are vital. More so when it involves breast cancer. This has proven to help 90 percent of patients survive for many years after diagnosis and why women over 20 are
encouraged to conduct breast self-examinations monthly. Those with even a moderate risk are advised, from age 45, to have mammograms. Now thanks to this new test, it is much easier to quantify your potential risk and the risk you may be passing on to future generations much earlier and then to know what you can do to help prevent the disease from manifesting.
Dr Baron concludes, “It’s more important and easier than ever to make the most of medical science. To become proactive about our health and in turn, about the health and well-being we pass on to our children and grandchildren.”
The optiphi® breast cancer gene tendency test is now available from doctors and trusted healthcare professionals countrywide. Ask your doctor about it or visit optiphi® for details or to book a test. Tests related to various other diseases will be available in coming months. optiphi® also offers skin, health and diet related tests allowing for actionable interventions to improve your overall health.