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Satoris Awarded Michael J. Fox Foundation Grant to Develop "Biological Fingerprint" for Parkinson's Disease

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Satoris, Inc., a California-based molecular diagnostics company, announced that it has received a grant from the Michael J. Fox Foundation to study plasma protein panels from patients with Parkinson's disease and attempt to identify a cellular signature for the disease.

The study is being performed in collaboration with Dr. Bernard Ravina, Associate Professor of Neurology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine. Specifically, the study will compare the relative amounts of 500 plasma proteins from 25 Parkinson's disease patients with those from 25 healthy individuals. If differences are seen, further studies would be required to develop and validate the "fingerprint" as an indicator of Parkinson's disease.

Cris McReynolds, President and CEO of Satoris, said, "Currently, the best methods available for diagnosing Parkinson's disease involve multiple neurological tests of motor and cognitive skills and may include expensive neurological imaging scans. A simple blood test would provide physicians with a more reliable, cost-effective, and objective diagnostic tool. The first step in developing such a blood test is to identify the unique "biological fingerprint" of the disease. A blood test would improve patient management for Parkinson's disease and could assist in the monitoring of new therapies."

Satoris researchers first reported the potential utility of using plasma proteins to measure neurodegenerative changes in the November 2007 edition of the peer-reviewed scientific journal, Nature Medicine. In the reported study, researchers compared blood samples from individuals with pre-symptomatic to late-stage Alzheimer's disease with those from individuals without the disease.

Using a technique known as signal profiling, they were able to simultaneously measure the relative abundance of 120 known plasma proteins that function as chemical messengers between blood cells, brain cells, and cells of the immune system. Levels of these markers change in response to disease and can be used as surrogate markers for measuring changes in disease progression and response to therapies. Based on this discovery, Satoris has recently commercialized test panels intended for research into Alzheimer's disease and dementia and is working to develop and validate an Alzheimer's diagnostic blood test.

"Satoris plans to apply this same approach to Parkinson's disease. We will use proprietary antibody arrays to measure over 500 distinct plasma proteins and attempt to identify a cellular signal for the disease," said McReynolds. "If we're successful, the next step will be further studies using larger numbers of samples. Ultimately we hope to develop and commercialize a diagnostic blood test."