NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The NextGen Group today announced its US subsidiary NextGen Sciences will be working with researchers from the University of Nebraska to discover biomarkers that may be associated with cognitive abnormalities in patients chronically infected with HIV.
Under the agreement researchers at the Chronic HIV Infection and Aging in NeuroAIDS (CHAIN) Center at the University of Nebraska Medical Center will use NextGen's csfdiscovery43 assay to examine biomarkers in cerebrospinal fluid associated with neuroAIDs.
The assay, launched in June and based on NextGen's multiple-reaction monitoring mass spectrometry platform, simultaneously measures 43 human CSF proteins that may potentially serve as biomarkers for CNS diseases.
According to Howard Fox, director of the Center for Integrative and Translational Neuroscience at UNMC, while current treatments have resulted in patients with AIDS living longer, HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders have persisted "and the specific mechanisms and pathways leading to cognitive disorders are not fully understood."
As HIV patients get older the chances of getting neurodegenerative diseases also increases, Fox added, saying that within the next three years more than half of HIV-infected individuals in the US will be 50 years old and above.
"These epidemiological trends suggest a risk, and raises concerns of an increase, in concomitant neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease," he said. "One critical gap in neuroAIDS research, similar to many other neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative conditions, is the identification of reliable molecular biomarkers. NextGen’s quantitative csfdiscovery43 assay coupled to our unique collection of well-characterized CSF samples from a large longitudinally characterized cohort provides a really exciting opportunity for biomarker discovery and early stage qualification."
Financial and other terms of the partnership were not disclosed.