uBiome Awards Grant to UCSF Researchers to Study Association Between Anal Microbiome Composition and Anal Cancer

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 29, 2019 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Through its Microbiome Grant Initiative, uBiome, the leader in microbial genomics, has awarded microbiome research support in study design, planning, sample collection, and analysis to researchers at University of California San Francisco led by Dr. Joel Palefsky, MD, head of the AMC HPV Virology Core Lab, to characterize and identify differences in the composition of the anal microbiome among groups at high risk of anal cancer.

The goal of the study is to evaluate the association between the microbiome and anal cancer precursors among individuals at the highest risk for malignancy: HIV-infected men who have sex with men (MSM) with anal HPV-16 infection. The researchers plan to characterize the differences in microbiome richness and variability of the anal microbiome in men with and without anal high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (HSIL). Researchers hope this pilot study will help identify patients at highest risk for malignant transformation, predict the development of and provide better treatment for HSIL, and detect and treat anal precancerous lesions to better understand HPV cancer in the setting of HIV infection.

Participants for the study will be recruited from the Anal Neoplasia Clinic, Research and Education (ANCRE) Center at UCSF under the supervision of Dr. Cristina Brickman, MD, Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine and Infectious Disease Physician. Data collected from the study will include microbiome composition from uBiome's patented kits, anal microbiome composition, and community richness and evenness of both sites to capture total community diversity.

"This study has the potential to provide invaluable insight about the relationship between the microbiome and increasingly diagnosed anal cancer pathogenesis in a population of HIV-infected men," said Jessica Richman, PhD, co-founder and CEO of uBiome. "UCSF is a world-class research institution and we are honored to support this investigation."

Dr. Palefsky is the Chair of the HPV Working Group of the AIDS Malignancy Consortium (AMC) and is the head of the AMC HPV Virology Core Lab. He has published over 300 papers and is the primary investigator on several laboratory-based and clinical research studies of HPV-associated neoplasia, particularly in the setting of HIV infection. Dr. Palefsky is the founder and past president of the International Anal Neoplasia Society and the past president of the International Papillomavirus Society.

About the grant, Dr. Palefsky said, "HPV is a necessary but insufficient cause of HSIL and anal cancer and the local microenvironment may be an important cofactor with HPV in cancer pathogenesis. This will be one of the first studies to examine the role of the anal microbiome in anal cancer pathogenesis."

Through its Microbiome Grant Initiative, uBiome has awarded millions of dollars in research support to hundreds of investigators around the world at renowned academic institutions and not-for-profit research organizations, including Harvard University, Stanford University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), University of California, San Francisco, Oxford University, and the University of Sydney. Awards include patented microbiome sequencing kits, as well as research support in study design, planning, sample collection, and analysis. To learn more about our award process or to submit a grant proposal, visit http://www.ubiome.com/microbiome-grant-initiative/.

About uBiome
Founded in 2012, uBiome is the leader in microbial genomics. The Company's mission is to advance the science of the microbiome and make it useful to people. uBiome combines its patented proprietary precision sequencing(TM) with machine learning and artificial intelligence to develop wellness products, clinical tests, and therapeutic targets. uBiome has filed for over 250 patents on its technology, which includes sample preparation, computational analysis, molecular techniques, as well as diagnostic and therapeutic applications.

uBiome's commercial products include SmartGut(TM), the world's first sequencing-based clinical microbiome test, which identifies microbes in the gut for patients with chronic gut conditions such as IBD, IBS, Crohn's Disease, and ulcerative colitis; SmartJane(TM), the first sequencing-based women's health screening test, which genotypes all 19 clinically relevant strains of HPV, identifies four common STDs, and surveys more than 20 vaginal microbes associated with bacterial vaginosis and other conditions; and Explorer(TM), a health and wellness product to understand the role that food and lifestyle can play in wellness.

uBiome's platform has been used by hundreds of thousands of consumers, patients, and doctors and more than 200 research institutions around the world, including the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), US National Institutes of Health (NIH), Harvard University, Stanford University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), University of California, San Francisco, Oxford University, and the University of Sydney.

Since its launch, the company has received widespread recognition including CNN 10: Startups to Watch, the IVY Technology Award, CNN Future 30, and was named one of Fast Company's Most Innovative Companies in Healthcare in 2016 and in Data Science in 2018, as well as a Technology Pioneer from the World Economic Forum in 2018. For more information, visit http://www.uBiome.com.

UC Disclaimer
The information stated above was prepared by uBiome and reflects solely the opinion of uBiome. Nothing in this statement shall be construed to imply any support or endorsement of uBiome, or any of its products, by the Regents of the University of California, its officers, agents and employees