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Transgenomic Licenses mtDNA Technology from Clayton Foundation

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Transgenomic has licensed quantitative PCR technology from the Clayton Foundation for Research of Houston that may be used to detect damage in mitochondrial DNA indicating cardiovascular disease, the company said today.
The company has signed an exclusive license for the patents with the Research Development Foundation, which is the Clayton Foundation’s technology transfer arm. These patents cover a method of detecting mtDNA damage that is a specific indicator of oxidative stress, a risk factor in cardiovascular death. An absence of a way to measure this oxidative stress has limited the ability to determine whether reducing that stress will reduce cardiovascular risk, the company said.
The technology was developed at the University of Texas in the lab of Ben Van Houten, through a collaboration with Marschall Runge, who is chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
These researchers showed that mtDNA damage in blood cells occurs early in atherosclerosis, that aortic mtDNA damage increases with age, and that genetic background and diet both can influence the level of the damage, Transgenomic said. Early studies have suggested that the amount of mtDNA damage “correlates with a near-term risk of major adverse cardiovascular events,” and that a measure of the damage could help predict coronary atherosclerotic heart disease.
Runge said in a statement that by collaborating with Transgenomic “we will be able to pursue studies of large populations of individuals at risk of cardiovascular diseases, and determine the utility of this measure in patients who may benefit from therapies to reduce oxidative stress." 
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

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