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Interleukin, NYU to Commercialize IL-1 Genetic Test for Osteoarthritis Progression

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Interleukin Genetics and NYU School of Medicine have signed a deal to advance a genetic test that identifies people at heightened risk for osteoarthritis progression.

The partners stated that their agreement is based on a jointly owned US patent application entitled "Detecting Genetic Predisposition to Osteoarthritis Associated Conditions." The patent claims methods of assessing a person's risk for generalized osteoarthritis when he or she is already affected by localized osteoarthritis based on genotypes for several interleukin-1 markers. The common joint disease affects the elderly and can require joint replacement surgery.

Noting that many drugs for osteoarthritis have failed to benefit patients, Mukundan Attur, director of NYU Langone Medical Center's Hospital for Joint Diseases, stated that a genetic test that gauges disease progression could potentially help guide treatment and inform development of disease-modifying drugs.

Interleukin develops genetic tests based on interleukin genetic markers, which studies have shown to be associated with a range of inflammatory disease, such as gum disease and heart disease. Researchers from Interleukin and NYU published a study in 2010 in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases that linked IL-1 polymorphisms to the severity of knee osteoarthritis. Based on this study, researchers led by Attur and Interleukin Founder and CSO Kenneth Kornman concluded that these markers "may be useful … for patient selection in disease-modifying osteoarthritis drug trials."

Animal models, drug treatment models, genetic association studies, and elevated interleukin gene expression observed in patients with general osteoarthritis, according to the firm, also supports the association between IL-1 and disease progression and severity. "In addition, genetic variations in the Interleukin-1 gene cluster have been determined to be associated with multiple clinical phenotypes in OA," the partners said.