The Genetic Link

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Article by: Kerry Chatburn

TISMOO: Ground-breaking science for personalized medicine


Personalized medicine, also referred to as genomic medicine or precision medicine, is defined by the National Human Genome Research Institute is an approach to healthcare that emphasizes the role an “individual’s genetic profile has in guiding decisions on prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease.”

TISMOO identifies themselves as the first lab in the world exclusively dedicated to individualized therapeutic perspectives for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and other neurological genetic disorders. TISMOO aims to increase the personalization of medicine through a ground-breaking combination of genomics, gene editing, stem cells and cloud computing technologies 

Founded in 2015 out of Sao Paulo, Brazil, TISMOO’s objective is to recreate the stages of neural development in the laboratory, by using patients’ stem cells.  Through creating ‘mini brains’ capable of reflecting the donor’s unique genetic profile and using genome editing techniques, they will study how genetic mutations cause specific syndromes. This platform then allows exploring new ways to revert such clinical conditions, by using personalized pharmacological treatments (or pharmacogenomic medicine), without experimenting on the patient directly. In turn, this allows defining a more personalized and effective treatment to each patient.

The team at TISMOO has adopted Oragene and ORAcollect saliva kits as their preferred method for DNA collection for their whole genome sequencing analysis due to their proven equality to blood DNA, non-invasive collection methods and simple, cost-effective sample transport.  

I had the opportunity to speak to the founding scientists of TISMOO regarding their revolutionary endeavor and how DNA from saliva is helping to drive their discoveries. The following is a summary of our conversation with Dr. Alysson Muotri and team - Dr. Carlos Gadia, Dr. Patricia Beltrão-Braga, Dr. Roberto Herai, Dr. Graciela Pignatari and Dr. Diogo Lovato and Dr. Iara Brandão.

  1. What is the biggest accomplishment TISMOO has achieved since founded in 2015? For us, our biggest accomplishment has been the acknowledgment and support from families and patients affected by ASD and neurological rare disorders, but also from caregivers, therapists and physicians who now understand our project. ASD patients are unique and it is very hard for physicians to tailor treatments. Most embrace our initiative and involve us in their efforts to support diagnosis and personalized
  2. How important is a non-invasive DNA sample collection to your initiative? The majority of our patients are children recently diagnosed with ASD and saliva samples offer an easy and non-invasive approach for DNA collection. Blood collection presents a very difficult challenge for regular neurotypical children and an even worse experience for our patients with neurodevelopmental conditions. At TISMOO, we always say one of our goals is to reduce patient and family suffering so non-invasive DNA sample strategies are very important for us.
  3. Why did you choose Oragene and ORAcollect for saliva-based DNA collection? We believe Oragene and ORAcollect saliva kits from DNA Genotek are currently the best option for high quality saliva-based DNA collection in the international clinical market.
  4. Describe the process of adopting Oragene and ORAcollect/saliva samples into your workflow. We collect Oragene and ORAcollect saliva samples directly from patients’ who come into TISMOO headquarters in São Paulo but also send them to patients’ homes as an easy and safe way to obtain their DNA. Brazil is an enormous, warm tropical country so biological sample transportation is a critical part of our daily work. DNA Genotek products are an excellent option to keep our patients’ DNA samples safe and stabilized without concerns of time and temperature. High quality DNA sample integrity is essential for our whole exome sequencing (WES) and whole genome sequencing (WGS) analysis.  Following collection, the saliva samples are shipped through standard mail to our lab in São Paulo city (Brazil) for processing.
  5. How do Oragene and ORAcollect/saliva samples perform in comparison to blood for WES and WGS? After protocol standardization to adapt our workflow from blood to oral samples, we have shown there is no significant differences in DNA quality between saliva and blood for WES and WGS.
  6. Describe TISMOO in the next 5 years? TISMOO will contribute to the future of healthcare through the development of personalized medicine. By combining genomics, gene editing, ‘mini-brains’, and big data, we can not only provide therapeutic perspectives for ASD and other neurological disorders but also generate substantial knowledge for the field of precision medicine. We know how human bodies respond differently to medication and treatments especially for multigenetic conditions such as ASD; in the next five years, we will be delivering therapies which consider each patient as a unique case. Through the combination of these scientific revolutions, TISMOO will solve problems and develop real life solutions for patients and their families.

I’d like to thank TISMOO for taking the time to talk to us and share their experiences in using saliva for WGS and WES. If you’d like to try using saliva for your own DNA sample collection, click on the button below to request complimentary trial kits.

Request free trial kits of any DNA Genotek saliva kit


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