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Chronix Study Supports Use of Circulating DNA in Monitoring Disease Status

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Chronix Biomedical today announced that a study published in the current online edition of the Journal of Molecular Diagnostics supports the use of the firm's technology in monitoring the clinical status of chronic disease.

The San Jose, Calif.-based firm said that the study is the first to show that its approach, which identifies disease-specific genetic fingerprints based on circulating DNA released into the bloodstream by damaged and dying cells, can be used for such monitoring purposes.

In the study, researchers used Chronix's techniques to identify genomic fingerprints in the bloodstream of 28 multiple sclerosis patients known to have relapsing or stable disease. They compared these patients with 50 healthy volunteers.

According to Chronix, the researchers were able to distinguish the MS patients from the healthy volunteers. They also were able to use the circulating DNA fingerprints to differentiate periods of active disease attacks from the stable periods of disease remission characterizing relapsing-remitting MS, which affects about 85 percent of MS patients, the firm said.

"These positive data further validate the premise underlying the Chronix approach, showing that the many genetic anomalies associated with active and stable relapsing-remitting MS can be detected by analyzing DNA fragments circulating in the blood serum," Mario Clerici, chair of immunology in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Technologies at the University of Milano in Italy, and a co-author of the study, said in a statement. "The prognostic value achieved in this study supports the ability of this new approach to help manage relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, potentially offering clinicians a new tool to easily assess which MS treatment options are most effective for their patients, as well as providing critical information that will facilitate development of the next generation of MS therapeutics."

The firm noted that Clerici is a member of the Chronix Medical Advisory Board and has an equity position in the company.

Chronix also is conducting studies on its approach for cancer diagnostics. The firm said that it intends to offer its serum DNA-based assays in a CLIA laboratory setting.