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Chronix, U of Calgary to Develop Mad Cow Test

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Chronix Biomedical and the University of Calgary have partnered to develop a commercial version of a serum DNA-based test for early detection of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly called mad cow disease, Chronix said today.

Chronix is developing a diagnostic, monitoring, and management testing technology that can identify and analyze DNA fragments circulating in the bloodstream. The firm published data in 2009 showing that these techniques could be used to detect BSE in cattle before disease symptoms show.

The BSE assay development project is supported by a grant from Genome Canada and the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency. Chronix said that it expects to begin offering the BSE testing service to the cattle industry once the commercial test is finalized and validated.

The BSE test will be the first commercial application of the Chronix technology, which is generally being developed for detecting and monitoring human diseases such as cancer and chronic conditions.

"This effort is critically important because the risk of introducing BSE into the food chain continues to worry consumers and hinder international trade," University of Calgary Professor Christoph Sensen said in a statement.