DioGenix Discovers Gene Sets Which Correlate to Multiple Sclerosis
News Jun 10, 2008
Ore Pharmaceuticals Inc. has announced that DioGenix, its molecular diagnostics subsidiary, has identified novel sets of genes that it believes will form the basis of a new assay to diagnose multiple sclerosis (MS), a disease of the central nervous system (CNS).
DioGenix plans to refine these gene sets and further confirm their disease association before it begins to develop an effective commercial assay for diagnosing patients presenting with early symptoms of MS. The Company is seeking strategic alternatives to fund DioGenix’s product development efforts.
To discover these correlative gene sets, DioGenix scientists compared gene expression profiles from a genome-wide analysis of whole blood samples from MS patients, patients with alternative diseases which mimic MS and samples collected from normal donors.
The scientists found statistically significant differences in gene expression between the groups, resulting in a novel gene set now covered by the Company’s recent international patent filing. This work confirmed the results of an earlier DioGenix study, based on peripheral blood mononuclear cells, announced in an October 2007 press release.
“This most recent study continues to provide encouraging evidence that we are on the right path to develop a clinically relevant diagnostic for MS,” said Larry Tiffany, Chief Executive of DioGenix.
“A blood-based test that can diagnose MS would improve the quality of care for patients who currently must endure a lengthy, costly and invasive medical work-up, even in those cases where MS cannot be definitively diagnosed. This is the first phase of our MS program, as we build on our knowledgebase of MS disease biology and work to find markers that can monitor disease activity, identify sub-types of MS, and assess therapeutic activity.”
Previous work by the International Multiple Sclerosis Genetics Consortium (IMSGC) has identified 233 genetic risk variants. However, these only account for about 20% of overall disease risk, with the remaining genetic culprits proving elusive. A new study has tracked down four of these hard-to-find genes.READ MORE