DNA testing pioneer DnaNudge is collaborating with Imperial College London to explore the effects of DNA-personalised food choices on health outcomes for pre-diabetic individuals. The clinical trial with Imperial College London – announced today – is assessing the potential of DnaNudge’s ground-breaking point-of-decision technology for improving glucose regulation and preventing the development of Type 2 diabetes in prone individuals. Recruitment to the 12-month clinical trial is being supported by leading UK retailer Waitrose & Partners, which will be supporting the trial by contacting customers in the North London area from today with information on how to take part should they wish.
Professor Nick Oliver from Imperial College London, who is leading the clinical study at the NIHR Imperial Clinical Research Facility, comments: “This key trial with DnaNudge allows us – for the very first time – to study in detail the outcomes of DNA-personalised food choices for pre-diabetic individuals, and to explore whether this type of accessible technology can deliver a proactive and sustainable solution to managing nutrition, and preventing the development of Type 2 diabetes in people at highest risk of this long-term condition. The potential for improving public health is very exciting, and we’re looking forward to examining the results from this world-first study.”
The study will examine the potential for DnaNudge’s approach to deliver a low-cost, highly scalable solution for the prevention of Type 2 diabetes in the general population, reducing the intense burden on effective healthcare programmes and resources. Currently, one of the biggest problems facing diabetes prevention is that people are not aware that they are at risk of developing the condition, or of the need for the type of sustainable changes and improvements to their nutritional choices that can be delivered through the DnaNudge system.
Co-investigator of the study Professor Chris Toumazou – Regius Professor of Engineering at Imperial College London and CEO and co-founder of DnaNudge – adds: “We are excited to be collaborating with Imperial College London to further build out the evidence base for DnaNudge, and to be embarking on the first phase of a public roll-out of our solution. We are very pleased to be supported by Waitrose & Partners as a key partner in this research, which we hope will represent a landmark in harnessing DNA-based food choices for transforming global health.”
How it works
DnaNudge’s revolutionary technology empowers shoppers to “nudge” their everyday shopping choices through their DNA, at the point of decision. Using a sterile cotton swab, users sweep the inside of their cheek to capture a sample of saliva. This sample swab is then inserted into a special processing cartridge, which is then plugged into a small instant DNA analyser – the DnaNudgeBox – that carries out an on-the-spot genetic test. Within minutes, an analysis of your specific genetic traits related to nutrition is complete, and the results are securely uploaded to the DnaNudge app on your phone via a wearable capsule (DnaBand). You can now start scanning food items as you shop to find out which products are healthiest for you – based on your DNA. All genetic information is owned by the user and securely protected on their mobile DnaNudge App.
“DnaNudge guides shoppers via a clear and simple system: “thumbs up” for a scanned product means that it is suitable for the user’s unique genetic makeup and individual metabolic traits – which are different for all of us,” says Dr Maria Karvela, co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of DnaNudge. “Thumbs down” means that the product is not recommended and other items within that product category would offer a healthier option.”
“Commenting on the trial, Moira Howie, Nutrition Manager at Waitrose & Partners, says: “This is a supermarket first - working with cutting-edge research technology that may prevent Type 2 diabetes developing in those who are prone to it. Supermarkets and food can play a big role in helping shoppers who want to be healthier. Many of our customers are looking for this and, by offering them the chance to take part in the study, they can make more informed decisions based on their own DNA and, in doing so, also contribute to developments in this important area.”