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UK Awards Consortium £850K to Validate ALS Epigenetic Biomarkers

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) — Innovate UK has awarded a UK consortium £850,000 ($1.3 million) to validate epigenetic signatures in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. 

The consortium is led by Oxford BioDynamics and includes Oxford University's Nuffield department of clinical neurosciences and Chronos Therapeutics. The project is worth a total of about £1.3 million, Oxford BioDynamics said.

The company will use its EpiSwitch technology to validate epigenetic signatures that are anticipated to have use in diagnosing patients and providing information about disease progression and whether a new drug is effective. A test developed from the collaboration would be able to detect the biomarkers directly from a patient's blood.

Oxford BioDynamics CEO Hoyer Millar said in a statement that the funding from Innovate UK, formerly called the Technology Strategy Board, "will help further advance [the company's] unique technology biomarker platform built by our university spinout and used today by a number of US pharma and Asian healthcare clients." 

The Scan

Interfering With Invasive Mussels

The Chicago Tribune reports that researchers are studying whether RNA interference- or CRISPR-based approaches can combat invasive freshwater mussels.

Participation Analysis

A new study finds that women tend to participate less at scientific meetings but that some changes can lead to increased involvement, the Guardian reports.

Right Whales' Decline

A research study plans to use genetic analysis to gain insight into population decline among North American right whales, according to CBC.

Science Papers Tie Rare Mutations to Short Stature, Immunodeficiency; Present Single-Cell Transcriptomics Map

In Science this week: pair of mutations in one gene uncovered in brothers with short stature and immunodeficiency, and more.