From The Trenches: Interview with Shai Rambod, CEO at MyChon, a 23andMe for Cellular Health
For the better part of the last decade, through the rise of wearable devices, genetic testing, and data-driven technologies, individuals now have more information than ever about their own health, encouraging health education and literacy. This can translate to better decision-making and ultimately improved well-being. Health startups are at the forefront of developing innovative solutions for promoting measurable lifestyle actions that correlate how lifestyle, diet, and nutrition choices affect cellular energy, function, and structure.
Since the average person is made up of trillions of cells, it makes sense to better understand our cellular health and function, which plays an important role in the aging process, affecting our body’s energy levels, and susceptibility to disease. To understand these and other cellular characteristics that affect the balance between wellness, disease, health, and aging, it is important to assess the status of the energy-producing mitochondria.
Meet Shai Rambod, Co-Founder of MyChon, the World’s First Complete Functional At-Home Mitochondria Test Tracker
The mitochondria, often called the “powerhouse of the cell” are specialized intracellular structures that, among their many functions, are responsible for 90% of the energy needed by the body to sustain life and support healthy cells and organ functions. Supporting the mitochondrial ability to maintain homeostasis in the cell is crucial for life, and it is the bedrock of healthy aging, a strong body, and a powerful mind.
Mitochondria are a critical player in maintaining metabolic balance and energy demand. When age, disease, or environmental/lifestyle factors damage cellular organelles, the mitochondria become the largest source of free radicals, leading to further damage and cell death, coupled with inflammation.
We interviewed Shai Rambod, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, and his co-founding team at MyChon, a Los Angeles based startup that developed a patented novel approach to measure mitochondrial function at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine. Their easy and non-invasive direct-to-consumer mitochondrial function test is cutting-edge and first of its kind.
The journey for Shai began over a dinner conversation about energy and metabolism at a friend’s house, where Shai was introduced to Orian Shirihai, one of the leading researchers in mitochondrial bioenergetics, structure, and function, and its impact on metabolism. Shai has always been passionately curious about living a healthy lifestyle that is focused on root-caused individual-centered care, and he wanted to find a ‘direct view’ into the state of his well-being at the cellular level. The two connected began to build a vision, pedigree management, and scientific team, and MyChon was born.
What Are They Trying To Solve
Currently, a complete functional mitochondrial test measuring oxygen consumption is not available directly to consumers. Traditional testing is invasive and demands on-site technical expertise and the analysis of large amounts of fresh blood, tissue, or cells, which is costly and unfeasible for most clinical labs. MyChon has made it a mission to pave the road as a leader in the personalized at-home test market and, for the first time, to make a standardized mitochondria function test accessible, affordable, and widely available. The test is easy and convenient; you submit a collection of cells from the cheek using a buccal swab and mail off the kit to their lab for analysis and review by mitochondria experts. The results and detailed reports are then available on MyChon’s digital platform within a short time.
Just as 23andMe provides genetic insights or Ancestry reveals genealogy, MyChon aims to provide a view into our cellular health and the impact it has on our daily lives. Having access to this data will empower individuals to make meaningful decisions that can correlate to better health. “We believe that in order to shift to root-caused individual-centered care, one needs to learn about his or her unique general health. By giving people direct access to their mitochondrial function; we empower them to make conscious health and lifestyle decisions to increase their healthspan. The period of life spent free from disease. ” Shai tells LAStartups.com in an interview.
Impact on Community
As individuals become more aware of the correlation of healthy lifestyle choices and the direct impact on health, the desire for self-service, consumer-centric healthcare will continue to grow. Further, with the availability of big data, the ability to create a vision of health care that is more preventive, predictive, personalized and precise is nowhere. This is where MyChon will be most impactful. Knowing and monitoring the change in our mitochondrial function and content can allow each one of us, individually, to take certain actions that can improve energy balance and wellbeing.
MyChon recently closed a round of financing and anticipates that its at-home test kit will be available to consumers in 2021. The amount of money raised was not disclosed. For inquiries or interest in their Beta programs or early adopters waitlist, please contact MyChon by email at email@example.com
Also, check out How the Venture Accelerator at UCLA Anderson is Helping Entrepreneurs in Los Angeles