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    You are here : Home » MS Research News » New Discoveries » Blood tests

    Blood tests

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    Utah firm developing blood tests for multiple sclerosis

    Blood Tests For MSA Salt Lake City company has received a boost in its quest to develop diagnostic tests for multiple sclerosis, which could improve the lives of those with the devastating, unpredictable autoimmune disorder that disrupts nerve function.

    The National Multiple Sclerosis Society on Wednesday announced a $622,000 pledge, through its nonprofit subsidiary Fast Forward, to Lineagen Inc., a molecular diagnostic company that was spun off from the University of Utah in 2005. The grant will fund ongoing U. research programs at the labs of neurologist John Rose, a leading clinical MS researcher, and his longtime collaborator geneticist Mark Leppert, Lineagen’s chief science adviser and co-founder.

    To advance understanding of MS, Rose has recruited some 500 patients through his clinic, and compared their genetic data with the pedigrees of relatives in the university’s Utah Population Database, which includes medical and demographic information on more than 6.5 million individuals. Meanwhile, Leppert’s lab has helped identify genetic profiles associated with the disease.

    Lineagen officials hope marrying these clinical and genetic approaches will create new techniques for determining whether a patient has MS and how severely the disease will affect them.

    "John looks at various nongenetic markers [certain proteins in the blood or antibodies in spinal fluid]. They correlated that with a person’s genetics and that leads to a predictive opportunity," said Michael Paul, Lineagen president and CEO. "The funding from Fast Forward will accelerate this clinical program, allowing the collaborative team to evaluate and affirm a broad number of biomarkers simultaneously, with the collective goal of delivering our best testing services to physicians and patients."

    This research team is tackling a crucial need, according to Timothy Coetzee, the MS society’s chief research officer.

    "It’s a high-risk science. We are thrilled to partner with them," Coetzee said. "This is a group that’s done it already in another disease. The company has an autism test that’s generating revenue."

    Unevenly distributed around the world, MS is much more common in counties at higher latitudes, yet some ethnic groups such as Finland’s Samis and New Zealand’s Maori are at low risk, suggesting a genetic role. Some 400,000 people have the disease in the United States, with 200 new cases diagnosed every week, according to the National MS society. Utah has one of the highest rates of MS in the country.

    The disease cannot be cured, but its debilitating symptoms can be managed through powerful drugs that are expensive and create side effects.

    "Starting treatment when it’s not appropriate is a huge negative," said Alex Lindell, Lineagen’s senior director for product management. A credible diagnosis is difficult before a patient is clearly symptomatic, but by then treatment options narrow and outcomes are less promising. A diagnosis, usually confirmed through MRI brain scans, requires a patient to experience at least two isolated neurological episodes associated with the loss of the fatty sheaths that encase nerve tissue.

    "There’s a period where symptoms can start, but it can be two months between episodes or two years. They don’t know if the person has MS. It’s a difficult diagnostic situation," Leppert said.

    Lineagen’s technique could enable physicians to more quickly rule out other neurological disorders in diagnosing patients with MS, then predict their responsiveness to different treatment options, Coetzee said. The MS society funding will help validate it in a clinical setting.

    A major goal of the program is to predict the trajectory of this notoriously fickle disease in a particular patient, information could help physicians optimize therapy.

    "There are different courses of this illness," Leppert said. "We have a lot of good therapies now. Can you match treatment modalities up with the different observations of proteins, DNA and antibodies?"

    Researchers hope to correlate fluctuations in known MS biomarkers with how the disease plays out in a patient.

    "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? 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," Rose said.

    Source: The Salt Lake Tribune © 2011 (15/12/11)

    Glycominds receives Japanese nod for its patent of diagnostic process of MS

    BloodGlycominds, which develops a unique technology and provides via it CLIA certified clinical laboratory groundbreaking services for early detection and management of Multiple Sclerosis (MS), reported that it has received approval from the Japanese Patent Office for the registration of its application for a patent for its main process for early diagnosis and management of MS.

    The approval of this Patent further strengthens the intellectual property of Glycominds and is an expansion of the extensive patent protection held by the company, which has more than 100 issued and registered patents. Glycominds now intends to examine possible entry into the Japanese market, which is considered the second largest market in the medical field.

    Glycominds’ CLIA laboratory is processing the company's unique gMS blood tests, that dramatically shorten the time it takes to diagnose MS, and predict the course of progression of the disease. This technology allows the neurologist better treatment decision. Currently there are no competing blood tests for MS. The Company estimates the market potential for MS tests at about 1 billion dollars.

    Glycominds recently reported the successful results of a clinical study of its prognostic test, the gMSPro CDMS. This test predicts events of clinical relapses in patients suspected with Multiple Sclerosis. The clinical study was held at the centre for Multiple Sclerosis of Catalonia, at the University Hospital Vall d'Hebron in Barcelona Spain, with a leading research group, led by Professor Xavier Montalban and Dr Mar Tintoré.

    The gMSPro CDMS is the third test being developed by the Company. The two other tests: the gMSDx for early diagnosis of MS, and the gMSPro EDSS to predict the likelihood for rapid progression and accumulation of disabilities.

    Dr Avinoam Dukler, CEO and president of Glycominds, said: "I am pleased that we have received the patent approval in Japan, which is an additional evidence of the technological innovation and the unique knowledge that we have developed at Glycominds. This approval is important and also supports the continued development of additional markets in the future for the company".

    Glycominds, a molecular diagnostics company, develops and commercialises autoimmune and chronic inflammatory disease management tools and services with a distinctive focus on the Multiple Sclerosis market.

    Source: Copyright © 2010 Saffron Media Pvt. Ltd (29/06/11)

    Glycominds reports positive multiple sclerosis treatment results

    BloodResults prove that the company's blood test can help identify which patients are likely to have a relapse within 24-60 months.

    Glycominds Ltd. reported that it had reached an important milestone in developing personalized therapy approaches for patients with multiple sclerosis. The company said that it has discovered a method for predicting clinical episodes in people who suffer from multiple sclerosis. These test results have proven with statistical significance that the gMS®Pro CDMS blood test has a good chance of identifying which patients are likely to have a relapse within 24-60 months.

    The clinical test results were presented last weekend at the annual conference of the CMSC (Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers) and confirm previous clinical results.

    Results of the study, which took place in the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital in Barcelona, showed that patients who had already experienced an initial neural episode and tested positive in the Glycominds test, experienced a second episode within two years.

    It was also found that 50% of those who tested positive in this test experienced a second episode within 3 years, whereas 50% of those who tested negative in this new test experienced a second episode only after 7 years.

    The test, which is the third blood test that Glycominds has developed, has tremendous clinical value for use in patients with Clinically Isolated Syndrome (CIS), in conjunction with MRI testing and has a unique contribution beyond of MRI testing.

    Source: Globes © Globes.All rights reserved.(06/06/11)

    Link between cholesterol compound and multiple sclerosis unlikely

    MS MRINew research findings appearing in the January Journal of Lipid Research indicate that compounds called oxysterols are not present in any significant amount in multiple sclerosis patients, contradicting a previous study that suggested that some of these cholesterol metabolites were associated with MS and could be used as diagnostic tools in the clinic.

    Oxysterols are somewhat controversial in science; while some laboratory experiments suggest these steroid molecules may be biologically important, they are present in only trace amounts in the blood, and studies in living animals or humans have not convincingly proven a definitive role.

    Therefore, there was great interest when a study published last year in the journal Nature Immunology reported that two oxysterols, known as 15HC and 15KC, were increased more than three-fold in the blood of MS patients, and that these oxysterols could be associated with the development of the disease.

    Spurred by those findings, Ingemar Björkhem and colleagues at Sweden's prestigious Karolinska Institutet decided to perform their own analysis of blood samples using a combination of gas chromatography and mass spectrometry, which vaporizes the samples and separates the component parts to allow for a thorough separation of all molecules; thus they could identify 15HC and 15KC levels even at low concentrations.

    Despite numerous efforts, though, Björkhem and colleagues failed to find any meaningful 15HC or 15KC oxysterol levels in blood of healthy individuals or MS patients.

    To ensure the oxysterols were not being lost or metabolized somewhere along the experimental chain, they also ran blood samples with pre-loaded oxysterols and recovered almost 100 percent of the loaded amount, demonstrating that the protocol was not the problem; any 15HC or 15KC present in the patient samples would have been found.

    Björkhem notes that given the conflicting results of recent studies, the potential role of oxysterols in multiple sclerosis needs to be reconsidered.

    In a commentary accompanying the new paper by Björkhem's team, William Griffiths and Yuqin Wang of the U.K.'s Swansea University, who were not involved in either study, said they suspect the original research team who reported the oxysterol discovery in 2009 "incorrectly identified [the compounds] in plasma, in which case their data would suggest that some unidentified lipids are increased in the circulation of patients with (MS)."

    "It is important that these compounds are now identified," they added.

    From the article:

    High levels of 15-oxygenated steroids in circulation of patients with Multiple Sclerosis. Fact or fiction? by Ingemar Björkhem et al. Link:

    Includes companion editorial, Are 15-oxygenated sterols present in the human circulation? by William Griffiths and Yuqin Wang. Link:

    Source: EurekaAlert! (16/12/10)

    Blood lipids linked with disease progression risk in MS

    Blood TestsClinical outcomes in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) are adversely affected by increased blood levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), total cholesterol, and triglycerides, researchers said here on October 14 at the 26th Congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS).

    Dyslipidaemia independently predicts an increased risk for cardiovascular complications via mechanisms related to activation of inflammatory processes at the vascular endothelial level, said lead study author Bianca Weinstock-Guttman, MD, Jacobs Neurological Institute, Buffalo, New York.

    The risk of disease progression in patients with MS has recently been linked to vascular comorbidities, she noted, but the mechanisms underlying this association remain uncertain.

    "Cholesterol is an important component of intact myelin," Dr. Weinstock-Guttman said. "Lipids, especially lipoproteins, are involved in the regulation of several neural functions through local independent mechanisms that are linked to systemic lipid metabolism in the CNS [central nervous system]."

    Dr. Weinstock-Guttman and colleagues retrospectively examined blood lipid profiles from 521 patients with MS. A baseline Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) assessment was available at the time of blood lipid profile analysis and at >=6 months following the initial evaluation.

    Statin usage was documented in 22.2% of the study group.

    Increases in EDSS at follow-up (mean, 2.2 years) were significantly associated with higher baseline LDL cholesterol (P =.018), triglyceride (P =.011), and total cholesterol levels (P =.003). EDSS changes were not associated with baseline high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels.

    Similarly, increases in MS Severity Scale scores were significantly associated with higher baseline LDL cholesterol (P =.036), triglycerides (P =.018), and total cholesterol levels (P =.022), but not baseline HDL cholesterol levels.

    Higher triglyceride levels at baseline were associated with a significantly increased probability (P =.023) for the presence of contrast-enhancing lesions (CEL) on magnetic resonance imaging of the brain at baseline. In contrast, higher HDL cholesterol levels were associated with a significantly lower probability (P =.01) for the presence of CEL.

    No association was found between the risk of MS disease progression and body mass index at baseline or statin treatment.

    The researchers concluded that lifestyle changes designed to maintain blood lipid profiles within recommended ranges might be useful in patients with MS.

    Funding for this study was provided by Biogen Idec, Teva Neuroscience, EMD Serono, Pfizer, Novartis, sanofi-aventis, and Questcor Pharmaceuticals.

    Source: Doctor's Guide Channel Copyright (c) 1995-2010 Doctor's Guide Publishing Limited (18/10/10)

    New blood test could help track progression of Multiple Sclerosis

    MS Blood Test

    A new blood test has been developed that could help doctors track the progression of multiple sclerosis in patients, it has been revealed.

    Researchers with Glasgow Health Solutions described the test as a major breakthrough in the treatment of the disabling condition.

    The test will allow doctors to pinpoint when patients are about to enter the active phase of the neurological disease and treat the symptoms, according to head of the research lab Dr Thomas Gilhooly.

    He said: "This blood test offers fresh hope to MS sufferers as it can detect when a patient is entering the active phases of the disease.

    "It therefore could be a way of ensuring accurate and timely treatment of patients with the progressive forms of MS.

    "This has the potential to unlock treatment for this group of patients and massively improve their quality of life.

    "The terrifying aspect of MS for most sufferers is that they do not know how quickly, and how far, it will progress.

    "This test gives them the certainty of diagnosis and the ability to begin effective treatment at a very early stage."

    Helen Yates, Chief Executive of the Multiple Sclerosis Resource Centre said, "MSRC has been aware for some time of the work that Dr Gilhooly and his team have been doing in this area and we are delighted to see such progress.  As Dr Gilhooly has said, it may well prove very significant to be able to identify when a person with MS is entering an active disease phase.  Anything that helps to inform both doctors and patients, particularly in relation to the progressive forms of the disease, has to be good news."

    Around 100,000 people in the UK have MS.

    Source: The Multiple Sclerosis Resource Centre (MSRC) & Channel 4 News

    Hopes of simple blood test for MS

    It may be possible to develop a simple blood test to diagnose Multiple Sclerosis, scientists believe. MS is currently diagnosed through a combination of scans, tests and physical examination, and can be difficult to spot. But researchers found people with relapsing-remitting MS have a distinct pattern of proteins in their blood.

    The prospect of a simple blood test to diagnose MS is extremely attractive The Wake Forest team compared blood samples from 25 patients newly diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS with samples from 25 healthy people.

    Relapsing-remitting MS is the most common form of the disease, and is characterised by attacks interspersed with stable periods. The researchers found that the MS patients had a different pattern of proteins - and their building blocks, peptides - in their blood. Lead researcher Dr Jagannadha Avasarala said: "We found a distinct pattern in the MS group that revealed the existence of three markers for the disease.

    "This suggests the potential for developing a blood test that could allow us to identify the earliest changes that represent MS and help in its diagnosis." Dr Avasarala said there was probably not a single marker that could be used to detect MS. Looking for patterns across a number of markers was probably a more effective strategy. The researchers combined an analytical technique called combined mass spectrometry with sophisticated software designed to recognise protein patterns.

    Diagnosis stressful

    Christine Jones, of the MS Trust, said: "Obviously, this research is at an early stage but the prospect of a simple blood test to diagnose MS is extremely attractive. Currently, there is no one test that can diagnose MS and the process of identifying people with the condition can be long and stressful, often stretching over a period of months or even years.

    "Many people with MS say that dealing with the uncertainty during diagnosis is harder than coping with any of the symptoms they ever experience. Clearly, a test that could provide a rapid and definitive diagnosis would enable those who do have MS to begin receiving treatment and support without delay and would also avoid unnecessary distress for those who are found not to be affected by the condition."

    Mike O'Donovan, chief executive of the Multiple Sclerosis Society, said: "This interesting research is at an early stage and we look forward to seeing the results of the further analysis now under way."

    The Wake Forest University study features in the Journal of Molecular Neuroscience.(24/05/05)

    © Multiple Sclerosis Resource Centre


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