Gene Logic Identifies Gene Expression Patterns Associated with Multiple Sclerosis in Blood Cells 26 October 2007
Company Is Collaborating with Accelerated Cure Project for Follow-On Studies Using Blood Samples.
Gene Logic Inc.announced today 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.
MS is a chronic inflammatory disease that selectively destroys the myelin sheaths of neurons within the CNS, leading to loss of neurological function with unpredictable course and severity. The disease affects approximately 350,000 persons in the United States alone, and more than 25,000 new diagnoses are confirmed each year. Susceptibility to MS is determined by genetic and environmental factors that are not well understood, unfortunately requiring a battery of expensive and in many cases invasive tests to arrive at a diagnosis.
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. 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.
This is an exciting development for the MS community, said Art Mellor, founder of ACP. "Currently the diagnosis of MS takes an excruciatingly long period of time, often preventing patients from getting the early treatment they need to slow down its progress. This is an essential study and we are pleased to play a role in it."
Avonex® is a registered trademark of Biogen Idec.
Copaxone® is a registered trademark of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.
About Gene Logic Molecular Diagnostics
Gene Logic has developed proprietary comprehensive knowledgebases of human disease and response to therapy and capabilities to enable the discovery, validation and product development associated with commercially useful biomarkers. Past success has included prioritization of drug targets, identification of markers to predict toxicity and understand mechanisms of toxicity, and obtain insights into the efficacy of specific compounds. Gene Logic has recently begun to utilize these assets in combination with its in-depth clinical network to develop targeted diagnostic and prognostic marker sets with the ambition to develop these into assays which have broad ranging clinical utility.
Founded in 1994, the Genomics Division of Gene Logic is headquartered in Gaithersburg, Maryland. And it operates with additional research and development facilities in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
About Accelerated Cure Project for MS
The Accelerated Cure Project for Multiple Sclerosis, www.acceleratedcure.org, is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to curing Multiple Sclerosis (MS) by determining its causes. Accelerated Cure Project believes this effort can be accelerated by organizing the research process and encouraging collaboration between research organizations and clinicians. A "Cure Map" is currently being developed by the Accelerated Cure Project to establish what is known and what is not known about the causes of MS. From the Cure Map, Accelerated Cure Project will facilitate research most likely to reveal the causes of MS in the shortest time through a large-scale, multidisciplinary, MS Repository.
Source: Gene Logic Inc. (26/10/07)