Researchers from Metabolon, Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine will be involved in a project to find a faster and more accurate diagnostic test for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC (February 12, 2004) - Metabolon, Inc. today announced its collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine on a new biomarker study funded by The ALS Association (ALSA).
Researchers will work together on the study, Identification of Diagnostic Biomarkers and Therapeutic Targets for ALS, to find a more rapid and accurate diagnostic test for ALS using biomarkers found in cerebrospinal fluid and blood. They will analyze blood and cerebrospinal fluid from a control group and from ALS patients using two different technologies.
Metabolon will test samples obtained from patients using its metabolomics platform that will search for signatures of ALS by measuring the spectrum of biochemical changes and mapping these changes in metabolic pathways. In pilot studies, Metabolon has established metabolic profiles from the blood of ALS patients for comparison to profiles from control groups. Metabolon will be able to extend its findings by expanding the study to a larger sample set and analyzing the profiles in cerebrospinal fluid.
"There is an urgent need to find a faster and more reliable diagnostic process that will enable earlier treatment and improve chances that therapy will alter the course of ALS," said Dr. Lucie Bruijn, science director and vice president of The ALS Association.
"We are delighted to be working with ALSA on this project, and we are committed to make a difference in the lives of ALS patients," said Rima Kaddurah-Daouk, Ph.D., co-founder of Metabolon and a principal researcher in the new study. "Using our innovative metabolomics approach, we will be evaluating global biochemical defects in ALS in ways not possible before. We will ultimately be able to draw a map that can highlight diagnostic markers for ALS and novel targets for drug design."
The study was initiated by ALSA as part of its Lou Gehrig Challenge, a privately funded research program aimed at finding effective treatments for and, ultimately, a cure for ALS. The project is being funded for one year with the possibility for renewal after presentation of the initial data to the Lou Gehrig Challenge Scientific Advisory Committee.
Metabolon is a leader in the application of metabolomics, a powerful and new scientific approach for the discovery and development of drugs and the early diagnosis of disease states. Seasoned and successful entrepreneurs, as well as scientific pioneers, make up Metabolon's executive management team and boards.
Metabolon's patent-pending technology is poised to dramatically impact drug discovery and development processes by accurately measuring the spectrum of biochemical changes and mapping these changes to metabolic pathways. Metabolon's technology can identify safer compounds for development, shorten the time for drugs to get to market and identify diagnostic markers for earlier disease detection.
The ALS Association is the only national not-for-profit voluntary health organization dedicated solely to the fight against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis through research, patient support, information dissemination and public awareness. For additional information, contact The ALS Association at (818) 880-9007 or visit www.alsa.org .
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