NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) - Source MDx has formed a partnership with Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital to study RNA-based biomarkers for multiple sclerosis, the company announced today.
The duo plans to use expression profiling to find diagnostic markers, markers for active or stable MS, and response markers for currently available MS therapies.
Multiple sclerosis, a chronic central nervous system inflammatory disease, has unpredictable and highly variable progression. For instance, many individuals with the disease experience partial or complete remission punctuated by MS relapses whereas others experience progressively worse symptoms. Current methods for determining the stage of disease are imprecise, but some research suggests that gene expression profiles could help map disease progression and guide treatment, the companies said.
“Our objective is to evaluate RNA-based markers in the broader context of each patient’s genetics, protein markers, family history, and clinical information in order to determine markers that can help in making a diagnosis of MS and prognosticate on drug response in MS,” Brigham and Women’s Hospital neurology researcher Phil De Jager, co-leader of the study, said in a statement. “By doing so, we hope to be better able to identify makers that could lead to improved diagnostic tools, therapies, or treatment regimen.”
The research ties into ongoing work by De Jager and Brigham and Women’s molecular immunologist David Hafler and others in the International Multiple Sclerosis Genetics Consortium and Partners Healthcare MS Center.
Source MDx said that it has patented the use of gene expression data for identifying, monitoring, and treating MS. The company added that it has identified and patented MS gene expression biomarkers linked to MS in independent studies by De Jager and Hafler.