Our Campaign is Now International!
Selected media coverage:
We believe that everyone should personally know how their environment and lifestyle choices are affecting the health of their DNA. Exogen's campaign is a citizen science project that wants to give individuals like you access to leading edge technology to monitor your DNA for damage.
Benefits to You. By participating in our citizen science campaign, you benefit by being one of the first individuals in the world to get state-of-the-art information about the health of your DNA.
What is Citizen Science? Citizen science is where the public volunteers to assist scientists in their research by submitting data, sharing experiences or spreading valuable information. Scientists benefit from having a lot more data to analyze and a pool of volunteer citizen scientists willing to help.
Who is eligible? Our campaign is NOW INTERNATIONAL. For international supporters, there is an additional cost for international shipping. Please choose a "Non-US" perk, which includes international shipping fees. Please see FAQ below if you mistakenly ordered the wrong perk.
Why is this important to you? Scientists have linked DNA damage and poor repair to some cancers, neurological diseases, premature aging, and many other serious diseases. You might be surprised to learn that your DNA is constantly being damaged and broken. DNA damage can come from exposure to UV rays, medical x-rays, and chemical toxins. DNA damage can also result from lifestyle choices like diet and physical exercise. Your level of DNA damage may also be a reflection of your personal genetics.
Click on a factor or condition on the diagram below to learn more:
How are we able to do this? Scientists have developed the technology to measure DNA damage over a decade ago, but the procedure is lengthy and can be error-prone when done manually. Exogen has developed and refined novel high-throughput technology to automate the procedure for measuring DNA damage in human blood samples. In this campaign, Exogen is focused on measuring DNA double-strand breaks, the most lethal type of DNA damage.
What you give goes a long way
Who Are We?
Dr. Sylvain Costes (Co-Founder) received his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in nuclear engineering. After completing a postdoctoral fellowship at UC Berkeley, he joined the National Cancer Institute as a Project Scientist working on high content image analysis. He has been at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab for the past 9 years as a Biophysicist. At the Berkeley Lab, he created and patented Exogen's novel high-throughput microscopy platform to assess DNA damage and repair in human cells.
Dr. Jonathan Tang (Co-Founder) received his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco in bioengineering, and his B.S. from Columbia University in biomedical engineering. After his Ph.D, he joined Dr. Costes at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory as a computational biology and bioinformatics postdoctoral fellow. His research has been funded by the National Cancer Institute and NASA to study breast cancer and the carcinogenic effects of ionizing radiation.
Scientific Advisory Board
Can I participate if I live outside of the USA?
Yes, as of Feb 8, our campaign IS INTERNATIONAL! If you are not within the US and accidentally ordered a US perk, please upgrade to the Non-US version of the kit to pay for international shipping fees. Click on contribute now, and add in the difference in cost. Please note that we are happy to refund your money if you no longer want to participate.
Why is your target $50K? Couldn't you get that from angel investors?
This campaign is not about the money, and the contributions for the perks will hardly cover our expenses (except for the Exogen Supporter perk). This campaign is a citizen science project, and our target is about gathering data to look at how age, medical conditions, environmental and lifestyle factors correlate with DNA damage.
Medical Information and the FDA
At this time, we are not providing medical advice. The information we provide with our technology is for research, educational, and informational use only. However, your participation will allow us to move closer towards our goal of becoming an FDA-approved diagnostic tool.
Institutional Review Board
Exogen does have approval with an independent Institutional Review Board (IRB) to provide ethical oversight for this study.
We encourage you to share your personal data with us to link DNA damage with specific diseases, and environmental and lifestyle factors, but it is not required. For your safety, your questionnaire data and your results will be anonymized and kept private. We will ensure that capturing and storing of your data will be HIPAA compliant. The reason for this citizen science study is to gather data to better learn about DNA damage. Exogen will use this data in a non-identifiable way for research in the future, which may be of a commercial nature. You will always be able to export your data from Exogen at any time at no cost to you.
Which marker of DNA damage are you using... is it presence of gamma2x foci?
We are looking at P53 Binding protein 1 (53BP1). We have published on this DNA double-strand break marker extensively (Plos Comp Bio 2007 and PNAS 2012) and shown it is a more reliable DNA double-strand break marker than gamma-H2AX as it is less prone to change with cell cycle.
What if my DNA damage levels show up high. Can I improve my DNA damage levels?
There is extensive literature showing how environmental and lifestyle factors can impact positively and negatively these levels. With this citizen science project, we want to empower people to experiment by changing components of their environment and lifestyle, and track the impact on their DNA. Let's promote healthier DNA and a healthier living for all of us!
Why are you looking at blood, and is it indicative of other organs in your body?
We use blood because it is relatively non-invasive and there are studies that show that the blood is a good surrogate tissue for looking at DNA damage and repair rates. This is one example study looking at mice with various genetic backgrounds. Some mice were "normal" while the others had known mutations in genes essential for DNA repair that predisposes them to cancer and radiation sensitivity.They showed that they could classify the mice based on DNA damage levels and repair rates, and their classifications were consistent across all tissue they looked at (blood, brain, lung, heart, and intestine). From this they concluded that DNA damage and repair in the blood lymphocytes is valid and similar to other complex organs.
What will you be doing with my blood?
Once we receive your samples, we will only analyze your blood for DNA double-strand break using our proprietary technology. When we are done, we will safely and securely dispose of all samples. High-resolution images, similar to an ultra high-resolution picture from a phone camera, of your blood cells will be taken and securely stored. We send your DNA double-strand break results to you securely. That is your personal DNA data that will always be exportable. We will use this data for research, but it will never be identifiable to you.
Other Ways You Can Help
Help us get the word out and make some noise about our campaign