The Rise of Genetic Testing: Synapse Laboratory Illuminates the Path to Better Health Through Early-Stage Genetic Insights For All Ages


The genetic testing market has evolved rapidly alongside the growing public’s interest in learning how their genetic make-up affects their health. Synapse Laboratory, a specialised medical testing laboratory, as one of the pioneer laboratories enabling cutting edge technologies for better health outcomes is making genetic testing more accessible and affordable for the Malaysian public.

The rising awareness of the value of early diagnosis of genetic disorders and preventive personalised genomics has revolutionised the genetics industry. More and more consumers are choosing genetics to combat diseases, detect and mitigate health risks at an early stage. Affordable access to this crucial genetic information is the driving force behind Synapse’s launch of myPreciseDNA, a direct-to-consumer genetic test that aims to democratise healthcare screening for the Malaysian public.

“Everyone has a unique genome, made up of the DNA in all of a person’s genes. Genetic testing can help identify genetic variants that relate to your health, wellness and disease conditions. The myPreciseDNA test analyses over 129 traits to provide a report with detailed insight into one’s health, dietary sensitivities, and fitness, among others. Besides this, the report also provides personalised recommendations on lifestyle changes, supplements or even medical advice so that people can proactively take steps to improve their health and wellness at any stage of their lives,” Dr Rachna Kairon, Founder and Managing Director of Synapse explains.

To complement the genetic test, myPreciseDNA also provides genetic counselling and clinical consultancy that can help interpret the test results and understand the report better. Additionally, the counsellor or consultant can also facilitate treatment options, sharing sessions to address emotional concerns, provide treatments, further investigations and recommendations for lifestyle changes based on personal genetic profiles.

With recent accreditation awarded by the Accreditation Committee of the College of American Pathologists (CAP), the world’s largest organisation of board-certified pathologists and the leading provider of laboratory accreditation, Synapse Laboratory is more determined than ever in fulfilling their vision to be the leading regional healthcare testing provider.

“This is another exciting milestone for Synapse, as CAP accreditation signifies the highest quality standards of our laboratory. Complementary to the MS ISO 15189 accreditation we have received, we are now one of the first few laboratories in Malaysia to receive CAP certification,” said Dr. Rachna.

Welcoming Life With A Smile

With a mission to improve maternal and infant health outcomes, The BabySafe brand under Synapse brings the promise of welcoming life with a smile. BabySafe provides a series of tests for the mother and baby ranging from prenatal, perinatal to postnatal care. A healthy baby starts from the womb and therefore Synapse brings to you the BabySafe brand on the journey to motherhood.

BabySafe Newborn Screening helps to detect over 40 inherited metabolic diseases also known as Inborn Errors of Metabolism (IEM). They are the first private newborn screening laboratory in Malaysia to bring this leading-edge technology to physicians and parents at a reasonable price to improve infant health outcomes. IEMs are medical conditions caused by genetic defects that interfere with the body’s metabolism. Inherited from both parents, and mostly presenting no symptoms at birth, the disruption to metabolism could lead to growth failure, eye or hearing defects, immunodeficiency, and development deficits such as unusual facial features. In some cases, IEM can also be fatal. Due to this, the early detection and intervention provided by preventive screening is of vital importance to improve newborns’ survival rate in the event a condition is detected.

BabySafe Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) provides parents with options to look for genetic conditions in the baby during early pregnancy. Utilising Next Generation Sequencing technology, the test offers genetic screening for pregnant mothers as early as 10 to 13 weeks of pregnancy. It is highly sensitive and specific and can be used for IVF or twin pregnancy or pregnancies with a donor egg. BabySafe NIPT provides the options to look for a large number of microdeletions within a very quick turnaround time. This test is important to help mothers detect the possibility of their foetus inheriting genetic conditions such as Down’s syndrome, Edwards’ syndrome, and Patau’s syndrome.

Maternal and infant health is an integral part of the microcosm of family health and public health at large. Safeguarding and securing a healthy mother with a well baby is unique to Synapse’s mission. We as a laboratory provide this interface between technology and service to parents in collaboration with clinicians for a comprehensive and affordable mother and child care program,” Dr Rachna says, adding that it is time for the public to be aware of the importance of mother and child health options.

A subsidiary of the Singapore-based Synagene Group, Synapse’s growth since its establishment in 2007 demonstrates its vision of innovating technologies in medical sciences to make a positive impact on public wellbeing as well as the wider healthcare and testing landscape in Malaysia. The laboratory aims to become the largest and most well-recognised genetic testing player in the region.

Synapse is also working with children with rare disorders for Whole Exome Sequencing and tumour analysis for patients with cancer. Moving forward, Synapse is looking to expand into the digital healthcare space to give the public easy access to medical services nationwide.

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