CORE Bringing Advanced Testing Diagnostic Techniques to India

Zoya Brar

The modus operandi of CORE is to bring the most advanced testing diagnostic techniques and expertise to India and be the destination for all high-end diagnostic testing, says Zoya Brar, Founder & Managing Director of CORE Diagnostics in conversation with Elets News Network (ENN).

Q What are the hallmarks of CORE Diagnostics, a next-generation diagnostics service provider?

As Picasso put it, “Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction.” In 2013, when I set out to create CORE as a 23-year-old, I had a formidable task ahead of me – creating a start-up in a space that has traditionally been the forte of those much older, and much wiser, than me.

For last five years, I have been painstakingly building the foundation – not only of a company, but also of an entire new industry within healthcare, and more importantly, of a revolution in workculture in India. This is taken a lot of creation, and a lot of destruction (of older ideas, as well as my own ideas). The modus operandi of CORE is to bring the most advanced testing diagnostic techniques and expertise to India, and be the destination for all high-end diagnostic testing. But that’s only one-half of CORE’s aspiration. We view our charter much more broadly: to re-shape the diagnostic industry – in a manner that it becomes the central pillar of healthcare delivery.

Q CORE Diagnostics adopts advanced testing techniques for disease stratification and therapy selection. How have you evolved in terms of latest technology?

We have tie-ups with all major health care centers in the region and are constantly scouting for opportunities to stay up to date with leading technologies in India and abroad. We have evolved in this space by allowing:

(a) A technology platform for collaboration amongst experts – at different locations but at the same time. The platform includes the capability of parallel sharing a massive number of images and live video-collaboration.

(b) Digital Pathology system. CORE has been using digital pathology for remote reading gamut in patient care. routinely for the past 36 months (c) Global Expert Panel. CORE has built a panel of 100 experts globally, who provide second opinions, digitally – on diagnosis and treatment. These experts are the key authority figures in their fields.

Q What distinguished services you provide that set you apart from other stakeholders of this field?

The central hypothesis of CORE Diagnostics as a high–end diagnostics service provider is to cater to the “white space” in Self- Pay Healthcare markets. Local, small labs (50,000 of them) can’t afford to offer high-end diagnostics. Larger national labs till date focus on volume. Today CORE has the broadest test menu with over 1000 tests in oncology, infectious disease and gynecology. We have the broadest coverage – with sales and service presence in 100 cities in India and 12 international markets – all served out of the 20,000 SqFt NABL accredited space in the NCR.

Q Shed some light over molecular diagnostics, histopathology and Cytopathology. How these techniques have been helpful?

Molecular diagnosis is a branch of laboratory medicine or clinical pathology that utilises the techniques of molecular biology in medical practice.

Polymerase Chain Reactions (PCR), Next Generation Sequencing and Genome Wide Association studies are some of the molecular techniques used to analyze biological markers in the genome (complete set of genes or genetic material present in a cell) and proteome (complete set of proteins that is or can be expressed by a cell, tissue or person). Fundamentals of molecular biology help us in understanding an individual’s genetic code and cell expression. This information is applied in medical testing.

Histopathology studies the changes in tissues caused by a disease. This branch of diagnostics has been revolutionized by the incorporation of molecular methods like fluorescent in situ hybridisation (FISH) and PCR. Cytopathology studies and diagnosis diseases on a cellular level. Due to limited volumes of cell samples obtained from blood, lymph bone, the application of molecular diagnostics like PCR is an indispensable technique.

Molecular diagnostics not only helps in diagnosing a disease but also helps in predicting the progress, selection of therapy and tracking the effectiveness of treatment of a disease. Thus, providing the entire gamut in patient care.

Q Medical device Industry is booming sector due to a range of factors including high demand of quality diagnostics service across country?

How do you see this as an opportunity? Estimates of growth in the medical device market in India vary from 10% to 15% and in in-vitro diagnostics this is estimated to make up 24% of the combined market. We have also ventured into point of care devices for self-sampling that allow patients to collect samples in the comfort of their homes and mail in their samples to our central laboratory. We continue to explore this space as the opportunity presents itself.