Elysium Health said today it has launched Index by Elysium Health, an at-home test designed to enable customers to measure their cumulative rate of aging and their biological age. The company has also named a head of bioinformatics to shepherd development of the test using the latest generation of an epigenetic biomarker called DNAm PhenoAge.
Morgan Levine, Ph.D., professor and aging researcher at Yale School of Medicine, has joined Elysium Heath after working with the company to improve the testing methodology of Index, with the goal of making its application accurate and informative for individuals.
The company contrasts its approach with that of earlier epigenetic clocks, which were developed to support population-level research. While published applications of biological age measure typically look at hundreds of sites on the genome, Index uses the company’s custom Elysium chip to examine global patterns across more than 100,000 sites, in order to solve for issues related to technical replicates.
The Elysium chip was developed using technology from Illumina that according to Elysium Health will help make the initial release of Index as accessible as possible, so that biological age data will become available to everyone.
“Scientists in the field of aging research have long explored two fundamental questions: Can aging itself be measured, and can we slow, stop, or reverse the processes associated with aging?” Elysium Health CEO Eric Marcotulli stated. “With the launch of Index, we hope to continue the scientific exploration of these two questions by extending the conversation to the consumer market and allowing everyone to benefit from the ability to determine their cumulative rate of aging and, with it, to see if lifestyle and other changes can impact how they age in the future.”
Expanding Product Portfolio
According to Elysium Health, Index marks the beginning of an expansion of its product portfolio to include aging tests as well as interventions that target fundamental processes of aging. Founded in 2014, Elysium Health has been best known for its cellular health supplement Basis.
During the first month of the product’s initial limited release, Index will be available for purchase to existing Basis subscribers. New Elysium Health customers will have the option to purchase Basis semi-annual or annual subscriptions to become eligible to purchase Index in advance of the full public release in 2020.
In addition to early access, Basis subscribers will also have the benefit of preferred pricing during the limited release period.
Levine helped Elysium Health identify specific DNA methylation sites along the epigenome that are highly correlated with nine clinical chemistry biomarkers of biological age and chronological age in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a program of the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Since the development of the first epigenetic clock in 2011, the methodology has been further refined and validated in multiple large-scale data sets across diverse populations and tissues.
“Historically, chronological age has served as the best estimation of health and aging. However, not all individuals age at the same rate—based on genetics, demographics, and lifestyle factors—and therefore, people of the same chronological age don’t necessarily share the same current health status or future outlook,” said Levine.
“Index provides a better picture of where an individual is in his/her aging process, which is why I’m excited to make this aging measure and the technology that supports it directly available to consumers,” Levine added. “It shows incredible promise when it comes to monitoring overall health and wellness and there is potential for even more diverse applications in the future.”