Kevin Perrott’s journey, from automating his family’s motorcycle sales business in St. Albert, Canada, to doing his biomedical engineering Ph.D. work at Novato’s Buck Institute for Research on Aging to opening one of the most innovative health assessment clinics in the world, started with a thyroid cancer diagnosis.
“When you are healthy, you have no idea what it is like to go through the medical system,” Perrott says, adding that a condition he developed post-surgery called tetany caused all his muscles to cramp at once and doctors mistreated it. “You realize just how incompetent everybody is for the most part, how little they know. And we’re basically barely past the Stone Age of taking things out of people to fix them. There’s no sophistication to it.”
As he lay suffering in his hospital bed and seeing other patients suffer, it occurred to Perrott how little control over the process they all had. “Nobody really cares. Nobody’s forcing them to really evaluate and change because it’s all we’ve got. It’s complicated, don’t worry about it, we can’t understand it anyway,” he says of the implied message to medical establishment patients. “So I wanted to empower individuals.”
Perrott says he founded OpenCures to answer one simple question that kept occurring to him while working at the Buck: “Why can’t I run my own biological samples through this equipment and get information that I can use to optimize my health?”
To get clients that data, OpenCures uses a multimillion-dollar mass spectrometer operated by a California company called Prodrome that takes a small drop of blood, ionizes it into a mist of particles and shoots it into a magnetic field. The hyper-accurate data that comes back has measurements of 300 biomarkers related to health that have all been studied. Tests are $350 and include a workshop and consultation.
“If you’re nonoptimal in any of those biomarkers, you can do something about it with your diet and supplements, basically — they’re all modifiable, and you can take action on them,” Perrott says, adding that the workshops tell clients which changes to make to address any issues and then a retest can let them know how they are doing. “You’ll see that now you have control. I call it a smog check for the body; it’s all about prevention. People don’t really appreciate how rare this approach is.”
OpenCures has recently partnered on two clinical trials: one involves the testing of a blood flow moderation device used to enhance the performance of Olympic athletes and to help those with Type 2 diabetes, and the other, run with AgelessRx, is the first-ever community-sponsored clinical trial on the use of rapamycin for longevity. For Perrott, it all fits with the company mission of putting the power of the research that has been done into the hands of those who need it — the patients. “How can we speed things up?” he says. “It became very clear to me that nobody was going to do this. We are the cavalry; we have to use the resources available to help ourselves.”