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Lineagen, Fast Forward Team Up on Multiple Sclerosis Biomarkers

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Molecular diagnostics firm Lineagen and Fast Forward have forged a partnership to fund the development of a blood-based assay for multiple sclerosis.

Under the terms of the deal announced today, Fast Forward, a nonprofit subsidiary of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, is committing $622,000 to clinically develop and validate a variety of biomarkers, including genes that may be able to identify those who have a predisposition for the disease, as well as biomarkers for diagnostic and prognostic use. The hope is to develop a test that can inform clinicians and guide treatment by distinguishing MS from other neurological disorders and providing information about patient response to therapies.

The funding supports research by John Rose, a professor of neurology at the University of Utah, and Mark Leppert, a professor of human genetics at the university.

"One of the most critical challenges is to find answers to key questions, such as how do we identify those patients who are more likely to experience disease progression, and how do we determine patients' potential responsiveness to therapy," Rose said in a statement. "With this important funding provided by Fast Forward, we will rapidly gain key insights that we believe can have a profound impact on the lives of people living with MS."

The Scan

Booster Push

New data shows a decline in SARS-CoV-2 vaccine efficacy over time, which the New York Times says Pfizer is using to argue its case for a booster, even as the lower efficacy remains high.

With Help from Mr. Fluffington, PurrhD

Cats could make good study animals for genetic research, the University of Missouri's Leslie Lyons tells the Atlantic.

Man Charged With Threatening to Harm Fauci, Collins

The Hill reports that Thomas Patrick Connally, Jr., was charged with making threats against federal officials.

Nature Papers Present Approach to Find Natural Products, Method to ID Cancer Driver Mutations, More

In Nature this week: combination of cryogenic electron microscopy with genome mining helps uncover natural products, driver mutations in cancer, and more.