MGmed, a Korean firm specializing in molecular diagnostic techniques for genetic diseases, said Friday that it would create the world’s first postmortem gene bank by securing the DNA of deceased cancer patients.
The news follows the announcement that MGmed has been selected as the priority candidate to operate the funeral home of Jecheon Myongji Hospital in North Chungcheong Province.
Upon finalizing the deal, MGmed will operate the provincial hospital’s funeral home for five years starting in next January. Korean funeral homes are often located in general hospitals, and its operations are often outsourced to separate businesses.
MGmed said its interest in funeral homes is two-fold – the company will aim to change funeral home operations and to become a new drug developer by creating the world’s first commercialized “postmortem specimen gene bank.”
The company said it would use the samples of deceased cancer patients to develop big data used to develop new immunotherapies. The goal is to observe genetic traits of cancer cells and to identify cancer-causing cells.
Using postmortem genetic testing and next-generation nucleotide sequencing techniques, MGmed will create a data bank based on the obtained specimen for a study that aims to establish a clinical cancer center in partnership with Ilsan Myongji Hospital and Incheon Sarang Hospital. MGmed said it would also carry out clinical trials using the big data.
MGmed will also provide future disease prevention reports to families who give consent to allow the use of the deceased persons’ genes.
The company has filed for a patent for the postmortem specimen gene bank and plans to expand these services to other provincial hospitals around Jecheon Myongji Hospital, it said.
Jecheon Myongji Hospital is the first province-based general hospital to gain the recognition of the Ministry of Health and Welfare. It has several specialized medical facilities such as a cancer relief medical center, cardiovascular center, and artificial cancer center, MGmed said.
The funeral home of Jecheon Myongji Hospital is expected to reach an operating profit of 500 million won ($458,000) and 1.1 billion won in sales this year, it said.
<© Korea Biomedical Review, All rights reserved.>