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Molecular Staging s Protein Amplifier Successfully Applied as Allergen Diagnostic

NEW YORK, Oct. 30 - Molecular Staging’s microarray-based protein-detection and -amplification technology is as accurate as traditional tests for allergen specific IgE, according to results of a recent study .

New Haven, Conn.-based MSI is developing this technology, called Rolling Circle Amplification Technology, for use in a protein-chip approach to diagnostics. MSI is currently working on applications in immunodiagnostic and gene-based diagnostic markets.

“Many other companies print proteins on glass microarrays, but they don’t have the signal amplification method, so typically they lack sensitivity,” said company COO Stephen Kingsmore. “We use RCAT to give us that edge in sensitivity. This also multiplexes, measuring many analytes at once.”

In the study, which appears in the October issue of the journal Clinical Chemistry , researchers compared RCAT results with conventional assays and an in-house lab test using 44 serum samples with positive and negative responses to common allergens like ragweed, dust mites, and cat dander. The MSI microarray immunoassay generated no false test results, according to the study results. 

“If you go to a physician with allergic systems, on average he’ll order 11 allergy tests,” said Kingsmore. “Today that’s done with 11 separate tests. But on a chip, we can print tens or hundreds of different allergens, incubate with a serum sample and read patterns of allergic sensitivity.” 

“It’s a matter of patient convenience, clinical performance being better, and the basic clinical result being more accurate,” he said. 

The microarray is now ready for use in reference laboratories, Kingsmore added.

MSI sees RCAT as a potential replacement for PCR and sees the technology  being applied to detecting point mutations and infection diagnosis through direct detection of viral DNA or RNA.

Kingsmore said the firm is also working on an antinuclear antibody microarray to be used in autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.  

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