NEW YORK, Dec. 6 — Pyrosequencing's molecular diagnostics business announced a research agreement on Thursday with the University of California, San Francisco to analyze genes implicated in multiple sclerosis.
Terms of the collaboration call for UCSF researchers to use the Pyrosequencing PSQ96 system to analyze the genotypes of 2,500 people that include patients with MS and their affected and unaffected relatives.
The partnership will allow the two groups to explore the genetic underpinning of the disease and understand its progression, its variability, and its severity. In a sponsored study, UCSF scientists will correlate the genetic data from patients and family members with clinical samples to better understand disease predisposition and development.
"We're getting further validation of the clinical applicability of our technology," said Pyrosequencing VP and molecular diagnostics business head Jerry Williamson. "The fact that a major research center has selected our platform is significant in itself. We don't know definitively that there will be products to come out of this, but obviously our intention would be to identify commercial opportunities in the diagnostic field."
MS affects between 350,000 and 500,000 people in the United States. The disease is incurable and highly variable: some patients quickly become disabled but many live for decades without major impairment. Genetic factors may play a significant role in this variability. Current tests for the disease are limited to clinical observation.