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Chronix Biomedical Partners with University of Calgary to Commercialize Serum DNA-Based Blood Test for Mad Cow Disease

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Chronix Biomedical has announced that it is partnering with the University of Calgary to develop a commercial version of its serum DNA-based blood test for the early detection of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also known as mad cow disease.

Chronix researchers have published data demonstrating that the company’s proprietary techniques can detect BSE in cattle before any disease symptoms are evident. Currently BSE can only be definitively diagnosed with a post-mortem brain biopsy. Development of the commercial BSE assay is supported by a grant from the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA) and Genome Canada. Chronix intends to begin offering BSE testing services to the cattle industry once the commercial test is finalized and validated.

Chronix’s technology identifies disease-specific genetic fingerprints based on circulating DNA that is released into the bloodstream by damaged and dying cells. The BSE test represents the first commercial application of Chronix’s technology, which is primarily being developed for the detection and monitoring of human diseases including cancer and chronic conditions.

Chronix recently published studies showing that it can identify the presence or absence of active disease in multiple sclerosis patients and that its approach can detect early stage breast cancer with high diagnostic sensitivity and specificity. Further validating the Chronix technology, researchers will disclose additional breast and prostate cancer study results in an upcoming oral presentation at the 2010 ASCO Annual Meeting.

“The technology from Chronix is the first to demonstrate the potential to achieve our goal of an accurate, cost-effective assay that will revolutionize BSE testing, making it economically and logistically feasible to screen all cattle in the food chain before BSE symptoms appear,” said Christoph Sensen, Ph.D., Professor at the University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine and Principal Investigator of the grant research program. “This effort is critically important because the risk of introducing BSE into the food chain continues to worry consumers and hinder international trade."

Chronix’s proprietary serum DNA blood tests are based on a growing body of publications showing that circulating DNA fragments can be identified and analyzed to provide a diagnostic window into changes associated with specific diseases. These changes can be used to track the presence of disease months or years before symptoms appear.