Enzo Biochem, Inc. has announced that, as a result of a licensing agreement, it plans to enter into the cytogenetics market by producing newly patented single copy DNA probes that can identify the minutest strands of DNA, opening the door to effective treatment of genetic diseases and some cancers.
The Company plans to combine the probes with its proprietary signal amplification technologies, which will enhance their effectiveness by allowing visualization at levels not achievable by other methods.
Single copy DNA probes offer a specificity in hybridizing genetic chromosomes not heretofore available for identifying elusive strains of inherited genetic diseases and cancers, allowing, among other things, for more precise clinical treatment.
Current commercially produced DNA probes, while important and useful, are limited to primarily examining large sections of DNA in identifying relatively common genetic disorders.
"This is an exciting and important new product for Enzo, and it marks the first time our Company has acquired an inline license for a technology that fits so well with the expertise we have developed over the years in gene identification," said Dr. Elazar Rabbani, CEO and Chairman of Enzo Biochem.
Enzo will produce the single copy DNA probes in its manufacturing facility here and market them to laboratories worldwide.
The Company acquired a license to the technology from the Children's Mercy Hospital & Clinics in Kansas City, Mo., in addition to rights for any patents relating to this technology issued in the future.
Enzo also acquired rights to approximately 50 DNA probes developed at the University, which in peer review publications have been listed as being able to identify a number of genetic maladies.
The technology, described as "ground-breaking" by the University when it reported the first patent's award, was developed by Joan H.M. Knoll, PhD, a cytogeneticist, and Peter K. Rogan, PhD, a molecular geneticist, co-directors of Mercy Hospital's Laboratory of Human Molecular Genetics.
Patent No. 6,828,097, "Single Copy Genomic Hybridization Probes and Method of Generating the Same," was granted in December 2004, and patent No. 7,014,997, "Chromosomal Structural Abnormality Localization with Single Copy Probes" was granted in March 2006.
"The scientists at the Hospital achieved a remarkable breakthrough with a technology that may facilitate identification and subsequent precise treatment with incredible specificity of the minutest genetic variations in a number of diseases," said Dr. Rabbani.
"Enzo is pleased to partner with the Hospital, and to be in the forefront of working to make this development available for research and clinical use."
The technology involves the application and combination of fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) with human genome sequence information.
"There are certain diseases we want to be able to dissect better because we know some patients with the same diagnosis don't respond as well to certain treatment," Dr. Knoll has pointed out.
"These probes allow us to now drill down to the DNA level and see that the cause of the disease may actually be slightly different between patients with the same diagnosis."
"Such findings will make it possible to direct patients to the right specialists who may eventually be able to prescribe personalized treatments."
"Enzo can create value added to this exciting field through the application of our proprietary signal amplification and detection technologies," said Dr. Rabbani.
"Conceivably, it will allow Enzo to generate a myriad of both products and services targeted at the cytogenetics community."