The GigaAssay is a massively parallelized platform for assaying molecular functions of single cells in culture without the need for mechanical separation of the cells.
Heligenics Inc. was formed to implement the GigaAssay to produce saturating mutation/function maps for key genes already established for both inherited disease and cancer diagnostics, or associated with actionable therapies.
The GigaAssay technology was developed at the University of Nevada Las Vegas in the Schiller Laboratory of Applied Bioinformatics. As a massively parallel biological assay that can simultaneously measure how millions of genetic variants or other sequence variables affect a molecular function of cell process, this would take many years if not decades to accomplish using conventional methods. To date, there are no other established assays that assess biological function at this kind of scale.
Comparison of the GigaAssay to alternative technologies and databases
Below is a table comparing the highly parallel GigaAssay to several potential alternative techniques and databases.
Dr. Jay Shendure at the University of Washington used the inherent function of the BRCA1 gene (homology directed repair or HDR) to determine the relative pathogenicity of hundreds of variants in the BRCA1 coding region.
Phage display is a bacteriophage-based peptide screening method in use for over two decadees.
ClinVar is the United States National Institutes of Health effort to develop a clinical database to connect human variation encountered in clinical genetic testing with supporting evidence of phenotypes.
Myriad Genetics is a for-profit company that since 1996 had a monopoly on BRCA testing until 2013, when it was struck down by the US Supreme Court. They continue to maintain their own proprietary database of BRCA1/2 variants with over 17,000 variants catalogued. Their database has variants only for BRCA1/2 and a few other hereditary risk genes for breast cancer.