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Advancing Cancer Care Through Genomics

Luis Alberto Velez - Theranomics
CEO and Founder


Sofía Garduño By Sofía Garduño | Journalist & Industry Analyst - Wed, 04/19/2023 - 11:09

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Q: What is the primary factor that drives Theranomics?

A: During the peak of the pandemic, 1 out of every 6 deaths was caused by cancer and not by COVID-19. The International Cancer Observatory, which is part of the WHO, recorded nearly 200,000 new cancer diagnoses in Mexico in that year. Of these, 90,222 individuals passed away within the same year.  Various international institutions, such as the WHO, the NIH and the Marie Curie Institute, have established that if the current incidence of cancer continues, 1 out of every 3 people will have or have had cancer by 2040. 

Theranomics is committed to stop cancer from being a death sentence. We must work toward turning it into a chronic disease, as it happened with hypertension and diabetes. 

Q: What is the current prevalence of cancer in Mexico?

A: Overall, the mortality rate in Mexico from cancer is 46.14%. Two out of every 3 cases are diagnosed at later stages, so oncologists face a much more aggressive disease with fewer treatment options available. The most common cancers in Mexico are also the most lethal, such as breast, prostate, colorectal, thyroid, uterine and lung cancer. 

Q: What are the benefits of using genomic medicine to treat cancer?

A: Cancer is a disease of the genome, the root cause of it comes from genomic alterations, therefore the origin of the disease can be traced back to it. However, the tools to evaluate and continuously monitor these alterations were previously unavailable or inaccessible, particularly 20 years ago. Today there’s a will and need to widen the access to such technologies as costs have come down from billions of dollars to a couple of thousands, allowing us to serve a broader part of our population.

We achive the latter by studying the tumors of patients at a molecular level using genomic diagnostics to offer a precise treatment. Through comprehensive tests, we provide an integrated diagnosis, prognosis or chances of survival and predict patient's response to treatments. We believe on the capacity to associate a treatment to each cancer diagnosis, also known as theranostics. 

Q: How do you deal with the reluctance to adopt genomic medicine as a treatment?

A: The cost to save a life can be much smaller than imagined. In many cases, we have told our patients that finding a potential cure for their cancer may cost less than their monthly car payment. This is a stark difference from the myth that personalized cancer treatment is prohibitively expensive. Some oncologists might suggest that a treatment is too expensive but the decision is ultimately up to the patient. 

We offer financing options of 18 to 24 months so patients can access the care they need. Some patients pay up to MX$5,000 (US$277) per month for our comprehensive test and in return, they receive a personalized profile within 30 days. Said profile might identify variants that could result in a more effective treatment, cutting the length of it in almost half, which translates on massive savings for them and other payors, such as private insurance companies or social security. Simply put, the findings of the test and the resulting treatment recommendation leads to savings, which literally pays for the test.

Additionally, we are in the era of AI and our partners use this technology to filter through the millions of letters in a tumor's genome to be more selective with treatment options.

Q: How do you support patients who cannot access these treatments?

A: We understand that advances in medicine, including precision medicine, are not always accessible to everyone due to their costs. But this does not mean that patients should be denied their right to healthcare, which is a universal right according to the Declaration of Human Rights. To address this issue, we donate a percentage of our annual profits toward molecular studies. 

We also segment our portfolio into different tiers, with a premium tier that is clearly more expensive. Regardless of the test selected, we ensure that all our products meet the same standards of diagnosis, prediction and prognosis. We offer different products at different price points to cater to various economic levels, with some customers opting for premium products while others choose basic or intermediate products. The key differentiator of our basic product is that it costs half or sometimes even less than half the price of the most popular test, while delivering the same results. For example, our basic test costs MX$57,000 (US$2,766) and performs just as well as the popular Foundation test in Mexico, which costs MX$135,000 (US$6,357).

We also have the "Greñas Largas" program, which encourages employees to grow their hair and donate it for wigs for cancer patients. Theranomics is committed to not only providing the best possible medical solutions but also to giving back to our community.

Q: What partnerships or collaborations has Theranomics formed in the field of genomics and precision medicine?

A: Our more relevant partners are CeGat, Centogene, Genomic Testing Cooperative and Medicover, all CAP and CLIA accredited laboratories. 

We constantly seek to strengthen our portfolio, which is why we do not have laboratory of our own, enabling us to adapt and adopt at a faster pace the latest innovations in OMIC sciences and offer the best options available in the market through our partners.

Q: What is your medium-term vision for Theranomics?

A: The plan is to not rely on external demand and to only provide genomic testing, but also to provide chemotherapy, radiation and personalized treatments, so we accompany our patients along the whole journey: from diagnosis to treatment and ideally all the way to remission and monitoring, we strive for an holistic service. 

Our goal is to become the leading provider of personalized cancer treatments in Mexico and Latin America within five to 10 years. This will involve a multidisciplinary approach using biotechnological therapies, such as personalized vaccines through immunotherapy and genetically modified viruses. We aim to provide a complete range of services, from tumor profiling all the way to real-time personalized treatments.

Q: How can Mexico reduce its cancer mortality rates?

A: As an industry, we need to work toward ensuring that patients have access to timely care. Two out of every 3 cancer cases in Mexico are diagnosed in the late stages, so patients and doctors have to deal with a more aggressive disease with fewer tools at their disposal. Moreover, the mortality rate in Mexico is unacceptably high. To change this, it is necessary to shift the perception that cancer is a death sentence and focus on making it a chronic disease that can be managed.

Cancer is a disease of the genome at it must be treated with such perspective, we now have the tools to do so, so let’s use them.

Achieving this will require links and cross-talks among insurers/payors, pharmaceuticals and diagnostic companies. Diagnosis and therapy (theranostics) are interdependent and vital. We need to work on this collectively to ensure that our patients receive the best possible care with the right doses at the right time.


Theranomics focuses on precision oncology and personalized medicine. It is committed to developing new business models to benefit patients, by providing access to the latest innovations in genomic medicine.

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