A man jumps in the air at the top of a mountain ridge

Power Your Personal Health Journey This New Year


As we ring in the new year with health and well-being top of mind, it’s highly beneficial to proactively manage our health efforts with a complete understanding of what “good health” truly is. Some may argue that good health is the mere absence of disease or infirmity, however according to the World Health Organization, good health is actually the state of complete physical, social and mental well-being.

For years, my wife experienced chronic migraine headaches. In order to proactively manage this condition she kept a diary, tracking the details of her experiences, from how she feels each day, to her activities, and what she eats. As a result, she’s identified patterns of health and migraine triggers beyond what her doctor has been able to identify. Based on her findings, she adopted a Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free diet and participates in daily exercise to alleviate the extensities of her headaches and prevent any further health issues.

My wife is one of many people who live with chronic health conditions. According to the National Health Council, 40% of the US population suffers from some type of chronic condition, including but not limited to fibromyalgia, depression, digestive problems, arthritis, and lack of focus. So what can we do about it? Much of the low-hanging-fruit, in terms of understanding the causes of various diseases has been identified but the diagnosis for the remaining conditions involve putting patients into “clinical buckets.” These diseases that remain untreated are more complex and remain medical mysteries. Discovering the underlying basis of these unsolved conditions requires the analysis of a deep data collected over time, including genomic, EHR, and private or daily personal data. Acquiring this data requires the participation and engagement of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people.  Institutions are therefore dependent on the trust of individuals to enable broad data sharing, however once trust is earned and data flows to the institution, what’s the incentive for  the individual to keep contributing? Why should we contribute our personal and health data in the first place and continue to contribute this data over time? What will we receive in return for our efforts?

Sharing data will enable all of us to live longer,  fuller, more fruitful lives. Contributing health and medical data to support research will accelerate health discoveries, enable people to better achieve personal health and fitness goals, while also enabling personalized medicine for all, and early disease detection.”

Studies show that 10% of our health is determined by what happens within the walls of a healthcare provider, 30% by our genetics, and 60% by environmental and behavioral factors. This last 60% is only accessible with the engagement of the individual. Discovering the basis for complex diseases can happen using artificial intelligence to analyze very large sets of genomic, medical, environmental, and personal data. Once enough people with the same illness or condition, and in many cases similar genetics, health habits, demographics, etc.,  share their data, artificial intelligence programs will decipher the underlying causes of the condition. AI can determine why a condition may specifically affect some people and not others despite having the same genetic markers or environmental exposures. Family, friends, and others in our community will reap the benefits of these discoveries for generations to come.

When we share our personal health information, each of us can use our data to assist us on our own health or wellness journeys.”

My would have loved to have a central place to record her health information instead of writing in notebooks. Moving our health information from conversations, jotted records like my wife’s, EHR’s, or even data that we haven’t shared or documented yet, to a structured, central location, will assist us on our own health and wellness journeys. If stored correctly, the data can fuel artificial intelligence algorithms that will help us find the links between our daily routine and the status of our chronic disease. Was the chocolate my wife ate the day before a trigger for her headaches, or did her hard-gym workouts in hot dry weather bring on the migraine? On a simpler note, routine analysis could help us manage our weight, achieve our fitness goals, and steer away from behaviors that lead to lifestyle diseases such as high cholesterol, hypertension, and diabetes.

At some point in our lives many of us, or our family members, may suffer from debilitation chronic or acute diseases, such as early onset childhood ailments, cancer, and Crohne’s disease. Genomic data is changing the way we treat children with early onset diseases and diagnose the molecular basis for most cancers. Microbiome data is sequenced in our quest to understand gut ailments, such as Crohne’s IBD, and SIBO. The new problem we are facing today is that in many cases the penetrance of the genomic marker is low. In other words, for some ailments all persons with the exact same pathogenic mutation or modification of their genome do not all come down with the disease. The genomic mutation does not guarantee a person will suffer from the ailment or when in life it might occur. The genomic marker is not 100% penetrant. The reasons for this are many fold and not always understood. The causes of these conditions are often a complex interaction between different aspects of our lives including our genome, microbiome, environment, and our daily habits. Do we drink, smoke, exercise daily or work stressful work hours? The answers are within our grasp. Technology barriers are not the issue. The challenge is collecting deep data over time at scale.

If we convince enough individuals to share data deeply and over time, we will accelerate our ability to understand the underlying basis for most diseases and chronic conditions.”

Individuals would then be rewarded through the use of their personal data to help on personal quality of life improvement journeys whether the journeys be about resolving personal conditions or achieving personal goals. The data would first enable precision medicine for all participants while  improving our day to day quality of life, our health, and provide the satisfaction of helping others with their own personal health journeys.


About Luna

Luna’s suite of tools and services connects communities with researchers to accelerate health discoveries. With participation from more than 180 countries and communities advancing causes including disease-specific, public health, environmental, and emerging interests, Luna empowers these collectives to gather a wide range of data — health records, lived experience, disease history, genomics, and more – for research.

Luna gives academia and industry everything they need from engagement with study participants to data analysis across multiple modalities using a common data model. The platform is compliant with clinical regulatory requirements and international consumer data privacy laws.

By providing privacy-protected individuals a way to continually engage, Luna transforms the traditional patient-disconnected database into a dynamic, longitudinal discovery environment where researchers, industry, and community leaders can leverage a range of tools to surface insights and trends, study disease natural history and biomarkers, and enroll in clinical studies and trials.


Bob Kain

Bob Kain

Executive Chairman of the Board + CO-FOUNDER

Bob was Illumina’s Chief Engineering Officer and, during his 15-year tenure, helped grow the Company from a 30-person startup to a global genomics leader of 3,000 employees at $1.5 billion in revenue.


Wrapped presents on a color background

Survey Finds 67% of Americans Would Rather Give a Gift To Benefit The Greater Good


A new survey from LunaDNA found that two in three Americans (67%) would rather give a gift to benefit the greater good than receive a material gift for the holidays. Of the majority of Americans who prefer altruistic gift-giving, older adults (65+) are more likely than younger adults to give a gift to benefit the greater good.

LunaDNA’s parent public benefit corporation, LunaPBC, commissioned The Harris Poll to conduct an online survey among over 2,000 adults to better understand sentiment toward people’s relationship towards giving. The results are weighted to be representative of the American adult population across various demographics, including age, gender, and ethnicity.

During the most ‘giving’ time of year, it’s reassuring to know that people are more interested in giving back to benefit others, and not just material gifts. These findings reinforce LunaDNA’s commitment to provide people with a year round opportunity to share their health data and reshape health discovery to improve well-being for all.”

Deb Thompson, VP of Strategy + Operations
Harris Poll Holiday Survey Infographic
Harris Poll Holiday Survey Infographic

The survey findings come days after LunaDNA’s one-year anniversary since receiving approval from the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to recognize health data as currency. Last year, LunaDNA made history becoming the world’s first platform to offer ownership shares to individuals in return for  genomic, personal, and health data. This initiative promotes people from study subjects to research partners by including all research participants in the value created from health discovery.

Since then, the LunaDNA platform has been breaking down data silos by crowdsourcing real-world and “missing data” in a manner unlike current models and aggregating that data in a controlled analytics environment to support research. This person-centric model is highly beneficial to pharma, academics, governments, and medical institutions aiming to accelerate medical breakthroughs.

Benefiting the greater good is LunaDNA’s core mission, not only to drive discovery, but to do so while honoring the individual health data contributor. The people-powered health data sharing platform improves participant engagement, efficiency, and velocity of research, and brings people together to share health data to benefit communities worldwide.

The key findings from LunaDNA’s survey enforces that the majority of Americans are more altruistic when it comes to gifting. Subsequently, LunaDNA is partnering with the San Diego Blood Bank to build the world’s largest local research community to support research, enable individuals to become active, valued participants in research, and ultimately enable people to gift a give that would truly benefit the greater good.

I believe the future of discovery and people’s data will be sideways not siloed, connected not dictated, socially responsible, and transparent.”

Dawn Barry, President + Co-Founder at LunaPBC

Learn more about this exciting new partnership


About Luna

Luna’s suite of tools and services connects communities with researchers to accelerate health discoveries. With participation from more than 180 countries and communities advancing causes including disease-specific, public health, environmental, and emerging interests, Luna empowers these collectives to gather a wide range of data — health records, lived experience, disease history, genomics, and more – for research.

Luna gives academia and industry everything they need from engagement with study participants to data analysis across multiple modalities using a common data model. The platform is compliant with clinical regulatory requirements and international consumer data privacy laws.

By providing privacy-protected individuals a way to continually engage, Luna transforms the traditional patient-disconnected database into a dynamic, longitudinal discovery environment where researchers, industry, and community leaders can leverage a range of tools to surface insights and trends, study disease natural history and biomarkers, and enroll in clinical studies and trials.

James White: Brothers in the Sand

Finding Resilience and Strength Through Genes


How often do you test your mental and physical limits? What does that entail? As I grow older and my body and mind begin to age, I find myself asking myself these questions more often than not. Wondering how I’m growing as an individual, led me to embark on my greatest journey. Three years ago I tested my mental and physical limitations, and it changed me forever. 

Marathon des Sables (MdS) is considered to be the toughest foot race in the world2. The race is a grueling multi-stage adventure equivalent of five and a half marathons in six days, a total distance of some 251 km, 176 miles, through a formidable landscape in one of the world’s most inhospitable climates – the Sahara Desert. Upon learning about this race, I couldn’t have imagined a better way to truly test my limits than by doing what most others wouldn’t – sign up. And I didn’t do it alone. Turns out, the need to understand and push past the limit ran in the family. My 4 brothers signed up with me.

In 30 years, this race has taken the lives of two competitors, while thousands more have been air-lifted during the race due to dehydration, fatigue and organ failure. On average, only 80% of the field finish2 each year. It was therefore a mathematical certainty that only four of the five of us would finish the race.  Our near-impossible 36-month adventure was filmed and closely follows the trials and tribulations of myself and my four brothers while we lived on three different continents, training for and competing in what we all agreed was the hardest challenge we’ve ever experienced — apart from growing up together.

Each of us had our own mission; conquering consciences, managing mediocrity, fighting failure, dispelling demons, breaking boundaries; but the uniting motivation was to honor the then recent passing of our Grandma, a matriarch and maven of the 1920s, whilst raising money for charities around the globe. The five of us joining forces brought uncertainty, pain and the joy of pushing each other and our families to the edge. But ultimately, we believed we were stronger united and more likely to finish it together versus as individuals. 

As the middle of five brothers, I’ve had to endure the push and pull of family dynamics, making me a mediator and facilitator, but not always the best communicator. Competitive at heart, I love to push my boundaries both mentally and physically. I’ve flown in the Royal Air Force, jumped out of planes and dived the depths of the ocean. I’ve played representative sport and captained teams to unexpected success – but previously there was always something missing. 

James White: Brothers in the Sand
James White: Brothers in the Sand 2

Participating in MdS gave me a chance to assimilate my experiences over the last 30+ years and focus. Selfishly, I needed to embark on this journey for myself. Ironically, it became more about my brothers, my family and fundraising, than me. Yes, I was ready to push myself to the limit, but I didn’t realize its opportunity to inspire others and help drive positive change. 

So, what was my limiting factor? Fear and failure? I kept (and keep) asking myself what does failure look like? Does it limit? Or does measured failure lead to successful adventure? Through this journey, I reached into the depths of my soul and found dark and ugly corners, but ultimately found belief in myself. Belief in my ability to make a difference, belief that new challenges can make you and others stronger. 

As a team, we accomplished what we set out to achieve – understanding our mental and physical limits as individuals and unexpectedly, the power of a team with a unified vision. We truly resilience and strength through one another.

James White: Brothers in the Sand 3
From left to right: Henry White, Christopher White, James White, Marcus White, Stuart White

Three years later, I have had the privilege to apply my learnings to another “band of brothers” at LunaPBC, the public benefit corporation spearheading LunaDNA. As the VP of Experience and Member Engagement, I’m helping to build the first citizen-powered research community that’s putting people at the center, and as you can imagine, it’s no easy feat. I hope my experiences and efforts can empower you to begin to answer some of my questions. Consider sharing, contributing and owning what moves friends and family, community and culture, people and populations forward – health information. Alone we’re strong, together we’re powerful.

Luna is bringing together individuals, communities, and researchers to better understand life. The more we come together to contribute health data for the greater good, the quicker and more efficient research will scale, and improve the quality of life for us all.  

Directly drive health discovery by joining the Tell Us About You study. 


About Luna

Luna’s suite of tools and services connects communities with researchers to accelerate health discoveries. With participation from more than 180 countries and communities advancing causes including disease-specific, public health, environmental, and emerging interests, Luna empowers these collectives to gather a wide range of data — health records, lived experience, disease history, genomics, and more – for research.

Luna gives academia and industry everything they need from engagement with study participants to data analysis across multiple modalities using a common data model. The platform is compliant with clinical regulatory requirements and international consumer data privacy laws.

By providing privacy-protected individuals a way to continually engage, Luna transforms the traditional patient-disconnected database into a dynamic, longitudinal discovery environment where researchers, industry, and community leaders can leverage a range of tools to surface insights and trends, study disease natural history and biomarkers, and enroll in clinical studies and trials.


JAMES WHITE

VP EXPERIENCE + MEMBER ENGAGEMENT



LunaDNA Wins Most Innovative New Product Award

LunaPBC Selected as a Winner for Connect’s 2019 Most Innovative New Product Awards


Today, LunaPBC announced that LunaDNA has been selected as a winner of Connect’s Most Innovative New Product Awards.

Connect, a premier nonprofit helping entrepreneurs with innovative startups in the technology and life sciences sectors, continues its thirty-two-year tradition of celebrating innovation leaders in the local San Diego community.

LunaDNA is a people-powered health data sharing platform for improving the participant engagement, efficiency, and velocity of research. LunaDNA members share genomic, personal, and health data; consent their de-identified data for use in aggregate for population-level research; and earn ownership shares in LunaDNA.

We are honored to have won such a prestigious award that recognizes local innovation and unites people who whole-heartedly and consistency support San Diego’s culture,” said LunaPBC’s President and Co-Founder Dawn Barry.

LunaPBC, the public benefit corporation managing LunaDNA, was awarded in the Life Science and Healthtech category at the annual Innovation Awards event held on Thursday, December 5th, at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine. Winners were selected in the following seven categories: Big Data; Cleantech; Defense; Medical Device; Life Science and Healthtech; Smart City & Transportation, and Software. For a complete list of winners and additional information, please visit the Connect’s website.

Luna is bringing together individuals, communities, and researchers to better understand life. The more we come together to contribute health data for the greater good, the quicker and more efficient research will scale, and improve the quality of life for us all.  

Directly drive health discovery by joining the Tell Us About You study. 


About LunaPBC
LunaPBC was proudly founded in 2017 in San Diego, California by former Illumina executives and leaders in large-scale consumer platforms and economics. LunaDNA soft launched in December 2018 concurrent with SEC-qualification, thus making LunaDNA the world’s first company to offer shares of ownership in the organization to health data contributors.

About CONNECT
For more than 30 years, Connect has focused on supporting and elevating entrepreneurs in the San Diego region. The organization has a long history as a powerhouse of resources for innovators, including mentorship, education, and connection to capital. Connect serves entrepreneurs and startups throughout their growth journey, from early stage to capital raise, with a suite of curated programs and events aimed to help companies grow, gain access to capital, and scale. 


Family Health History Thanksgiving talk

Family Health History Should Be Topic of Conversation This Thanksgiving


As we prepare for the fast-approaching holiday that unites families together nationwide over food, drinks, and much-awaited family connection, take advantage of the valuable opportunities while surrounded by your closest relatives – loved-ones that could be helpful in predicting and providing you identifiers of your future health. Every family has their own unique traditions and understanding family health history should be something to add to the Thanksgiving itinerary.

Why Health History Is Important

There’s a reason why your primary care physician asks about your family history every year. It’s important. Your family members’ health — including that of your children, sisters, brothers, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews — can reveal a wealth of information that may directly impact you. A pattern with relatives’ health history can determine conditions that run in the family and furthermore, indicate increased risks you may have for developing a particular disease.

Although identifying these patterns do not predict your pre-disposition in developing the same condition, understanding your potential risks can prepare you to take the necessary steps to reduce its development later in life. For instance, if your grandmother passed away from breast cancer and your aunt is a breast cancer survivor, there’s a higher chance that you may have inherited BRCA-1 or BRCA-2, breast cancer genes. Additionally, family health history goes beyond hereditary genetic lineage. It also encompasses eating habits, daily activities, and environmental factors that impact health and well-being. Having this information equips you with important insight to share with your primary care physician, enables you to undergo appropriate tests and interventions, and empowers you to proactively take charge of your well-being. Especially in the case of health history, education is truly life-changing.

How to Initiate the Conversation 

So how does one become fully informed about their family health history? Initiate conversation, especially when the opportunity arises. The information you already have about your family’s health conditions may have been derived from events that dramatically impacted your life, like the passing of a grandparent or the diagnosis of a sibling.  But what about the underlying symptoms that aren’t typically discussed or identified, like a family member’s chronic pain or dramatic weight loss. Identifying patterns in symptoms like these across generations can help forecast greater health challenges that need immediate professional attention.

Family Health History Checklist 

In between turkey dinner and pumpkin pie dessert, mark-off the following checklist to ensure you’re learning as much as possible about your family health history and ultimately, yours.

Ask Questions

Considering how much your health impacts others, sharing your personal experiences and hearing others may save a life. Here are a few questions to consider asking your relatives:

  • How has your health and wellness been this year?
  • Are you experiencing any conditions or diseases you’re comfortable sharing?
  • Who in the family has also experienced similar symptoms, conditions, or diseases? 
  • What are your eating habits, activity habits, etc.?
  • What are some things you do on a regular basis to stay healthy? 

Record Information

It’s important to know your family health history and especially important to ensure you don’t forget it. Record what you learned during these conversations and store in a secure location. This can be anything from a simple word document to a detailed health family tree. The more details you can provide about your family health history, the better you can identify patterns regarding health symptoms, conditions, or diseases you may be affected by.

Share Information

During your next doctor’s visit, share the information you learned during the holidays and update your family health history paperwork or database. Based on the information you collected, you and your doctor can create a healthy plan for you to roll into the new year with health, wellness, and quality of life top of mind. 

Additionally, take a health survey on LunaDNA’s secure and private platform and earn ownership shares for sharing your family health history data to research. There’s nothing more rewarding than closing out the year sharing value to benefit the greater good of humanity and joining a health movement that powers medical breakthroughs.

Luna is bringing together individuals, communities, and researchers to better understand life. The more we come together to contribute health data for the greater good, the quicker and more efficient research will scale, and improve the quality of life for us all.  

Directly drive health discovery by joining the Tell Us About You study. 


About Luna

Luna’s suite of tools and services connects communities with researchers to accelerate health discoveries. With participation from more than 180 countries and communities advancing causes including disease-specific, public health, environmental, and emerging interests, Luna empowers these collectives to gather a wide range of data — health records, lived experience, disease history, genomics, and more – for research.

Luna gives academia and industry everything they need from engagement with study participants to data analysis across multiple modalities using a common data model. The platform is compliant with clinical regulatory requirements and international consumer data privacy laws.

By providing privacy-protected individuals a way to continually engage, Luna transforms the traditional patient-disconnected database into a dynamic, longitudinal discovery environment where researchers, industry, and community leaders can leverage a range of tools to surface insights and trends, study disease natural history and biomarkers, and enroll in clinical studies and trials.


Genevieve Lopez

GENEVIEVE LOPEZ

HEAD OF DIGITIAL ENGAGEMENT