Ignyta raises $5.5 million for personalized medicine tests U-T San Diego Ignyta Inc. has raised $5.5 million to help develop its personalized medicine tests for rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and other autoimmune diseases.
Brian Shields's insight:
This is another exciting story about the speed of development in the biomarker arena. In 2010 the founder of this company got his idea from a Time magazine article. Just over 2 years later, we have a test which may be able to identify the early stages of rheumatoid arthritis.
"Firestein got the idea for epigenetic testing for rheumatoid arthritis after reading a 2010 Time magazine article about the role of epigenetics in cancer and other diseases, Lim said.
"He received Illumina methylation technology that allowed him to do genome-wide methylation analysis of a number of patients with rheumatoid arthritis," Lim said. "He was able to compare these RA patients with other patients who didn't have RA, and he found a strikingly different methylation signature in the RA patients."
Excerpt from article: "A simple blood test may help physicians track the progression of rheumatoid arthritis disease activity, say researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. In a paper published online on June 26, 2012, in Arthritis Care and Research, the UAB-led international research team says that a blood test measuring 12 biomarkers for RA is a valid and potentially useful tool in managing the disease.
“Previously, the disease activity of RA was assessed through clinical observation by a physician, noting the number of tender and swollen joints and assessing pain and functional abilities,” said Jeffrey Curtis, M.D., associate professor in the division of clinical immunology and rheumatology and lead author of the study. “This blood test measures the underlying amount of RA activity within the joints using sophisticated biochemical means intended to reflect the underlying pathophysiology of the disease. A highly reproducible, easily standardized blood test that measures multiple biologic pathways to augment a physician’s and patient’s clinical assessment has not been previously available to physicians.”
Curtis says the test emphasizes the activity of underlying biological pathways rather than external signs and symptoms and should therefore provide information that is different from, and complementary to, clinical assessment. He suggests the test may also help assess treatment response in patients. The test could show in just a few weeks whether a particular therapy is effective, rather than within three to four months as in current practice."
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