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New Concerns About Mad Cow Disease Highlight Importance of Chronix Blood Test that can Detect BSE Before Symptoms Appear
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New Concerns About Mad Cow Disease Highlight Importance of Chronix Blood Test that can Detect BSE Before Symptoms Appear

New Concerns About Mad Cow Disease Highlight Importance of Chronix Blood Test that can Detect BSE Before Symptoms Appear
News

New Concerns About Mad Cow Disease Highlight Importance of Chronix Blood Test that can Detect BSE Before Symptoms Appear

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Chronix Biomedical has announced that its CEO, Dr. Howard Urnovitz, will discuss the company’s DNA biomarker technology for the detection of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease, on a panel at the South Dakota Biotech Association’s Livestock Network conference.

Chronix has developed a serum test for the early detection of BSE in live animals and has published data demonstrating that its approach can detect BSE in cattle before any disease symptoms are evident. Currently BSE can only be definitively diagnosed with a post-mortem biopsy. With the support of grants from the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency and Genome Canada, Chronix is working in partnership with the University of Calgary to develop a commercial BSE assay that would allow for widespread screening of cattle. Chronix intends to begin offering BSE testing services to the cattle industry once the commercial test is finalized and validated.

“Our blood test for BSE is accurate, simple and cost-effective – all critical components for making the screening of cattle logistically and economically feasible,” said Dr. Urnovitz. “The Chronix technology has been shown to detect BSE in cattle before symptoms appear, a major advantage over the current procedure that can only confirm BSE post-mortem. The capability to rule out BSE in cattle before slaughter could greatly diminish the risk of introducing BSE into the food supply, helping to eliminate BSE as a barrier to international trade and reducing consumer concerns.”

Dr. Urnovitz continued, “The recent detection of BSE in the Netherlands has led to recommendations for more widespread screening of cattle. The commercial BSE test we are developing with the University of Calgary could make such screening feasible. We welcome the opportunity to discuss our progress with the distinguished industry, academic and policy experts at today’s Livestock Network conference.”

Chronix is developing disease-specific biomarkers based on DNA fragments that are released into the bloodstream by damaged and dying (apoptotic) cells. Chronix‘s serum DNA biomarkers are applicable to a wide range of chronic conditions, including neurological disorders, such as BSE and multiple sclerosis, and cancer. Chronix researchers have shown that this apoptotic DNA originates from a limited number of chromosomal regions, or “hotspots,” on the genome that are specific to each illness. By focusing on these genomic hotspots, the Chronix tests can reliably detect the presence of BSE and other chronic diseases without having first to isolate and analyze specific cells, a major advantage.

The Chronix approach has been validated in a number of peer-reviewed settings. In a 2009 publication in Nucleic Acids Research and another in Zoonoses & Public Health, scientists working with Chronix demonstrated that its DNA biomarker test could identify the presence of BSE and a related condition long before symptoms were evident. The technology has been validated in a number of other diseases as well.

In an oral presentation at the 2010 ASCO Annual Meeting, Chronix researchers presented data from 575 individuals showing that its assay detected breast cancer and invasive prostate cancer with 92% sensitivity and 100% specificity. These are encouraging results when compared to current early screening methods for these conditions. Additional published studies have demonstrated that the Chronix technology can identify the presence or absence of active disease in multiple sclerosis patients and that it can accurately detect early stage breast cancer with high diagnostic sensitivity and specificity.
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