2 min readSource MDx Announces Partnership with Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Boulder, CO – Source MDx has unveiled a partnership with Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston to examine RNA-based biomarkers in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients and healthy control participants unaffected by the disease.

The goal of the study is to identify diagnostic markers and to determine markers of active disease (relapses) or stable disease, along with response markers for currently available MS therapies. The study will utilize Source MDx’s patented gene expression profiling for the identification and monitoring of MS.

The lead investigators for the study are Dr. Phil De Jager,  Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard Medical School / Partners Healthcare Center for Genetics & Genomics, and Dr. David Hafler, Director of Molecular Immunology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Professor of Neurology of  Harvard Medical School.

“Our objective is to evaluate RNA-based markers in the broader context of each patient’s genetics, protein markers, family history and clinical information in order to determine markers that can help in making a diagnosis of MS and prognosticate on drug response in MS,” commented Dr. De Jager. “By doing so, we hope to be better able to identify markers that could lead to improved diagnostic tools, therapies or treatment regimen.”

The study is part of ongoing research conducted by Dr. De Jager and Dr. Hafler along with colleagues at the International Multiple Sclerosis Genetics Consortium (IMSGC) and the Partners Healthcare MS Center. The IMSGC has completed the largest replicated whole genome scan for MS to date. Its data identifying two new genetic variations associated with MS was published in the New England Journal of Medicine (“Risk Alleles for Multiple Sclerosis Identified by a Genomewide Study,” August 30, 2007).  This large, whole genome association study has evaluated over 12,000 subjects and represents seminal work in the MS field.

Source MDx has been conducting research related to MS since 1999 and has patented the use of gene expression data to allow more accurate identification, monitoring and treatment of MS.  Gene expression biomarkers independently identified and patented by Source MDx through the company’s precise and calibrated approach have subsequently been shown to be genetically linked to MS susceptibility according to the work completed by Drs. De Jager and Hafler.  

“We look forward to working with Brigham and Women’s Hospital and furthering our ongoing research in biomarkers associated with inflammatory disease in general and MS specifically,” commented Karl Wassmann, chief executive officer, Source MDx. “We believe this research will ultimately lead to improved, more targeted treatments for patients.”

Although little is known about the pathogenesis of MS, it is well recognized to cluster in families and it is clear that genetic factors have an important influence over an individual’s risk of developing the disease. 

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