The Lankenau Institute for Medical Research
The Lankenau Institute for Medical Research (LIMR) and Genisphere will continue their partnership on microRNA (miRNA) biomarker development for Ulcerative Colitis (UC) and will expand the collaboration to include Crohn’s Disease and other inflammatory bowel disorders. The organizations will use the Affymetrix® GeneChip® miRNA Array to identify the miRNA biomarker panels and develop new tools to help clinicians better diagnose and treat these disorders.
Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are two types of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), a chronic relapsing disorder of the gastrointestinal tract. Affecting over 1.4 million people per year in the United States, IBD is a risk factor for colorectal cancer. Current methods for diagnosing these disorders involve invasive endoscopic procedures, which provide only relative measures of disease severity and outcome, and do not provide insight to narrowing down treatment options.
“It’s very difficult to get a handle on what exactly a patient might have,” said George Prendergast, PhD, President and CEO of LIMR. “Symptoms can be common and it’s difficult to diagnose the condition precisely. Therefore, we see an opportunity through this collaboration to provide clinicians with a tool that helps them rapidly and specifically identify the patient’s condition so that care can be targeted the best.”
A PLoS One paper published by LIMR, Genisphere, and Affymetrix scientists in February 2012 showed platelet-derived miRNAs can reliably classify the severity and outcome of UC and are important mediators in the IBD inflammatory response. The study demonstrated miRNAs have the ability to stratify patients diagnosed with UC from healthy individuals. The researchers were able to develop a predictive panel of miRNAs that may allow clinicians to better classify patients with the disease.
The goal of the ongoing collaboration is to develop a diagnostic test to help understand how patients are being correctly or incorrectly diagnosed in their respective disease, and more importantly, how they are responding to treatment.
“We want to identify biomarker panels that can classify the various forms of IBD,” said Bob Getts, chief science officer of Genisphere. “From this we can develop a tool that will help to rapidly and accurately identify the patient’s condition so personalized treatment may be administered as soon as possible. Better therapeutics and monitoring will lead to earlier and more successful intervention.”
Patient blood samples are collected by LIMR, then sent to Genisphere for RNA extraction, FlashTag® Biotin miRNA labeling, and hybridization to Affymetrix® GeneChip® miRNA Arrays. Data is analyzed in search of microRNA expression changes between patient and normal donors.
“What started out as an interaction to improve a test has led us to think about how we might improve medicines through applying principles that the Genisphere and Affymetrix microRNA detection platform allows,” added Dr. Prendergast. “We are now looking at applications in cervical cancer, wound healing, and other areas well beyond IBD.”
Founded in 1927, the Lankenau Institute for Medical Research (LIMR) is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research center located in suburban Philadelphia on the campus of Lankenau Medical Center. Part of Main Line Health, LIMR is one of the few freestanding, hospital associated medical research centers in the nation. The faculty and staff at the Institute are dedicated to advancing an understanding of the causes of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. This information is used to help improve diagnosis and treatment of these diseases as well as find ways to prevent them. LIMR is also committed to extending the boundaries of human health and well-being through technology development and the training of the next generation of scientists and physicians. To learn about LIMR, visit www.limr.org.
A privately held company, Genisphere’s mission is to apply the Company’s proprietary technologies and scientific expertise to multiple applications that will improve the human condition through research, diagnostic and therapeutic solutions. This is accomplished by forging collaborations with partners to solve complex technical problems. As an established leader in the development and commercialization of kits and reagents used for the detection of nucleic acids and proteins, Genisphere’s solutions are primarily based on the Company’s proprietary whole transcriptome RNA amplification processes, miRNA labeling methodologies, and 3DNA® Dendrimer Nanotechnology. These combined technologies permit the interrogation and ultra-sensitive detection of a wide range of biomolecules, on a variety of detection platforms, including microarrays, flow and bead based assays, ELISAs, lateral flow assays, and RNA sequencing. Genisphere is also applying its technology portfolio to the future development of diagnostic and therapeutic applications. For more information, visit www.genisphere.com.