Ciphergen Biosystems, Inc. has announced the signing of a research and collaboration agreement in Liver Disease with the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB).
Under the terms of the agreement, Ciphergen will provide its suite of proteomic solutions (Deep Proteome™, Pattern Track™ Process and ProteinChip™ System) designed for biomarker discovery and development of assays, to analyze clinical samples collected at UTMB.
The collaboration gives Ciphergen the first option to negotiate a license to discoveries made during the agreement and will be part of UTMB's ongoing research in liver disease.
The aim of the Ciphergen-UTMB collaboration is to develop a diagnostic blood test that can measure the progress of liver disease and thus reduce the need for painful and costly biopsies of the liver in Hepatitis C patients.
Over the past several years, John R. Petersen, Ph.D., Professor of Pathology at UTMB, and Ned Snyder, M.D., Professor of Internal Medicine at UTMB, have been studying how Hepatitis C infection can damage or destroy the liver.
The two UTMB researchers have been interested in using blood markers (biomarkers) that can help determine the amount of liver damage that has been caused by the Hepatitis C virus.
Physicians agree that such biomarkers would be useful in identifying which patients require treatment, as well as monitoring patients undergoing treatment.
The UTMB researchers hope that biomarkers identified by Ciphergen's ProteinChip® Array based Surface Enhanced Laser Desorption/Ionization - Time of Flight - Mass Spectrometry (SELDI-TOF-MS) system, when combined with routine clinical laboratory testing, could be useful in identifying patients at risk of severe liver damage caused by Hepatitis C.
"By using SELDI, we hope to discover new serum biomarkers that can be translated into clinical assays," Dr. Petersen said.
"This agreement allows us to expand our current research program in hepatology by working with Professor John R. Petersen and his colleagues at UTMB," said Gail Page, President and Chief Operating Officer of Ciphergen.
"The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston is a major medical and research center for the study and treatment of infectious diseases such as hepatitis C and hepatitis B viruses, which can lead to liver fibrosis and potentially to liver cancer."
"We are very pleased to be collaborating to achieve our mutual goals to develop novel diagnostics in the field of hepatology."