Gene Logic Inc. has announced that it has identified gene expression patterns in white blood cells (WBC) that are statistically associated with multiple sclerosis (MS), a disease of the central nervous system (CNS).
The company's genomic analysis also identified gene patterns associated with two recently approved therapies for MS. To validate and extend its initial positive findings, Gene Logic is performing additional studies using blood samples from the repository of the Accelerated Cure Project for Multiple Sclerosis (ACP), a non-profit organization that has assembled the largest multi-disciplinary bio-bank for MS research.
Gene Logic scientists evaluated the WBC samples using gene expression microarrays that enable comprehensive analysis of the human genome. They compared untreated MS samples with non-MS samples (both non-diseased and from other autoimmune diseases), as well as MS samples before and after treatment with Avonex® (beta-interferon) and Copaxone® (glatiramer acetate). Statistically significant gene expression differences between the groups were determined to identify gene sets.
"These studies lay the foundation for several MS diagnostics that could have significant clinical applications," said Larry Tiffany, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Genomics at Gene Logic.
Tiffany continued, "A blood-based test that can definitively diagnose MS would clearly be of high value to physicians. A 'rule-out' test demonstrating that a patient does not have MS would also be clinically useful, since it eliminates a lengthy, costly and often invasive medical work-up in many patients with symptoms similar to MS. Other potential applications of our comprehensive approach could be tests to monitor disease activity, identify sub-types of MS and functionally assess drug activity."