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KineMed Receives Grant to Apply Novel Method for Measuring Muscle Mass in Infants and Children for the Diagnosis and Prevention of Malnutrition and Growth Stunting

KineMed, Inc. (www.kinemed.com) recently announced that it has been awarded a three-year grant by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to apply its novel, proprietary non-invasive measurement of skeletal muscle mass to pre-term and full-term infants and young children. The Principal Investigator, William Evans, Ph.D., is head of the KineMed Division of Muscle and Health. The study will, for the first time, measure changes in skeletal muscle mass during one year of growth. The information from this project will provide new information to better assess the effects of nutritional status and other factors that result in the loss of muscle.

Researchers Develop Specific Tests to Identify Cancer Biomarkers in Dermatomyositis

Researchers from major universities in the U.S. have developed specific tests to identify cancer biomarkers in patients with dermatomyositis—a systemic inflammatory disease associated with increased risk of malignancy. According to study findings published in the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) journal, Arthritis & Rheumatism, the assays detect antibodies against anti-transcriptional intermediary factor-1 (TIF-1γ) and nuclear matrix protein NXP-2.

Patients with dermatomyositis experience muscle weakness, skin inflammation, and sometimes inflammation of the lung. Most patients with dermatomyositis have auto-antibodies circulating in their bodies that cause distinct clinical disease features. Medical evidence suggests that these auto-antibodies in dermatomyositis patients stem from specific immune responses that shape various characteristics (phenotypes). In addition, up to 20% of those with dermatomyositis are at increased risk of malignancies.

“For the physician treating patients with dermatomyositis, identifying those at higher risk for cancer is a top priority,” explains Dr. David Fiorentino from Stanford University in Redwood City, Cal. “Our team focused on creating specific tests to detect antibodies against two specific proteins and then testing if those antibodies can identify dermatomyositis patients at higher risk of cancer.”

The team used both immunoblotting and immunoprecipitation techniques to detect antibodies against TIF-1γ and NXP-2 proteins. Blood analysis was performed on 111 patients from Stanford University Dermatology Clinic and 102 patients from the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Myositis Center. Both groups were similar in gender and age at diagnosis.

Results show that 17% and 38% of subjects in the two cohorts combined had antibodies against NXP-2 and TIF-1γ, respectively. Using the specific assays, researchers found 83% of dermatomyositis patients with cancer had a reaction to NXP-2 or TIF-1γ. Further analysis indicates that cancer, older age, and male gender were linked to NXP-2 or TIF-1γ antibodies, with anti-NXP-2 specifically associated with cancer in men.

“Our findings confirm the link between cancer and age in dermatomyositis, with a sharp increase in frequency at roughly 60 years of age.” concludes Dr. Fiorentino. “By determining the presence or absence of NXP-2 and TIF-1γ antibodies, we believe that this will aid clinicians in identifying those with the highest cancer risk.”

Study: Most patients with cancer-associated dermatomyositis have antibodies to nuclear matrix protein NXP-2 or transcription intermediary factor 1-gamma [Arthritis & Rheumatism]

Source: EurekAlert!

New Data Suggests Abbott’s High Sensitive Troponin Test May Help Doctors More Accurately Diagnose Heart Attacks in Women

Abbott recently announced promising preliminary results from a study presented at the ESC Congress 2013, suggesting that its high sensitive troponin test may help doctors improve the diagnosis and prognosis of patients presenting with symptoms of a heart attack. The test could be particularly beneficial for women, who may have different presenting symptoms and are often under-diagnosed. The study, which is being conducted by researchers at the University of Edinburgh, is evaluating Abbott’s ARCHITECT STAT High Sensitive Troponin-I (hsTnI) test, which received CE Mark in January 2013.

Cardiac troponin, a protein found in the heart muscle, is considered the preferred biomarker to identify suspected heart attacks, because it can detect injury to the heart.3 Abbott’s hsTnI test can measure very low levels of this protein, which is especially important for women, who often have lower levels of troponin than men.4

Researchers shared data from the first 1,126 patients of the study presenting with symptoms of a heart attack. Early findings demonstrate that women have lower peak levels of troponin than men, contributing to the under-diagnosis and therefore under-treatment of heart attacks for women.

“Whilst men and women are just as likely to present to the emergency department with chest pain, currently men are twice as likely to be diagnosed with a heart attack. By using the Abbott high sensitive troponin test and different diagnostic thresholds for men and women, the frequency of diagnosis of heart attacks in women increased and was comparable to men,” said Dr. Nicholas Mills, one of the key study authors and cardiologist, University of Edinburgh. “The findings of our study, when completed, could change the way we diagnose heart attacks in women, potentially reducing inequalities in the treatment and outcomes, and enabling everyone to receive the best care.”

When completed in 2016, this study will include more than 25,000 patients across 10 centers in Scotland, making it one of the largest studies to evaluate the impact of high sensitive troponin tests on patient care. The study was funded by a special project grant from the British Heart Foundation with Abbott providing the ARCHITECT STAT hsTnI assay.

“While Abbott’s high sensitive troponin test benefits both men and women with earlier detection of heart attacks, the potential to increase the diagnosis among women is especially important,” said John Frels, PhD, divisional vice president, Diagnostics Research, Abbott. “This is the first time we have seen a test that can provide this kind of detailed information to doctors and has the potential to aid doctors with improving the odds of survival for women with heart attacks.”

The ARCHITECT STAT hsTnI assay is commercially available in several countries in Europe, as well as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Brazil and runs on Abbott’s fully automated ARCHITECT family of analyzers. The test is currently for research-use only in the United States.

Source: Abbott Diagnostics

MicroRNAs have diagnostic and prognostic potential in urinary bladder cancer

German researchers have identified four biomarkers that correctly determine malignancy of urinary bladder cancers and contribute to the accurate prediction of patient outcomes. Their results are published in the September issue of The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics.

Current prognosticators of bladder cancer, such as tumor grade, stage, size, and number of foci, have limited usefulness for clinicians since they do not accurately reflect clinical outcomes. Therefore, investigators have been searching for new biomarkers with better diagnostic and prognostic capabilities. Focusing on the role of microRNAs (miRNAs), small non-coding RNAs, researchers have identified four miRNAs that together perfectly discriminated between nonmalignant and malignant tissue, including one alone that classified 81% of the samples correctly. Levels of two miRNAs correlated with overall survival time.

Urinary bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the West. According to the National Cancer Institute, it is estimated that in the United States 72,570 individuals will be diagnosed with and 15,210 will die of cancer of the urinary bladder in 2013. At presentation, in 75% of patients the cancers are confined to the mucosa or submucosa (known as non-muscle invasive bladder cancer, NMIBC), whereas in 25% of cases the cancers have already invaded nearby muscle (muscle-invasive bladder cancer, MIBC).

In a series of experiments, investigators analyzed bladder tissue from patients with NMIBC, MIBC, and nonmalignant bladders. After screening 723 miRNAs by microarray, they selected a subset of 15 distinctively deregulated miRNAs for further validation by real-time quantitative PCR. Seven miRNAs were found to be up-regulated, and eight were down-regulated in malignant bladder tissue samples compared to healthy tissue. Four miRNAs were expressed differently in bladder cancers that invaded muscle compared to those that did not. With one exception, no correlation was found between tumor stage and miRNA levels.

When all 15 of the selected miRNAs were considered together, they correctly classified 100% of tissues as either normal or malignant. Further analysis identified four miRNAs that led to 100% correct classification, and one miRNA (miR-130b) that by itself had an 81% accuracy rate. “These results underline the great potential of miRNAs to serve as diagnostic markers, as previously noted for other urological tumors,” says lead investigator Klaus Jung, MD, the Department of Urology at the University Hospital Charité, Berlin and the Berlin Institute for Urologic Research.

The investigators found that tumor grading could not be correlated with overall survival. Yet, they were able to find two miRNAs that significantly correlated with survival: miR-141 and miR-205. miR-141 showed a trend (P=0.08) of being able to stratify patients with muscle-invasive tumors into two groups with different overall survival times. “This finding could be of clinical importance, but these results must be interpreted cautiously,” says Dr. Jung. “However, previously published studies underline the possible prognostic potential of miRNAs to predict progression and disease-specific or overall survival in bladder cancer patients.”

miRNAs are small non-coding RNAs that contain between 19 and 24 nucleotides. miRNAs regulate gene expression by degrading messenger RNAs or impairing their translation. In recent years there has been a growing interest in miRNAs as potential diagnostic and/or prognostic biomarkers in cancers and other diseases.

Study: miRNA Profiling Identifies Candidate miRNAs for Bladder Cancer Diagnosis and Clinical Outcome [The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics]

Source: EurekAlert!

MicroRNAs have Diagnostic and Prognostic Potential in Urinary Bladder Cancer

German researchers have identified four biomarkers that correctly determine malignancy of urinary bladder cancers and contribute to the accurate prediction of patient outcomes. Their results are published in the September issue of The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics.

Current prognosticators of bladder cancer, such as tumor grade, stage, size, and number of foci, have limited usefulness for clinicians since they do not accurately reflect clinical outcomes. Therefore, investigators have been searching for new biomarkers with better diagnostic and prognostic capabilities. Focusing on the role of microRNAs (miRNAs), small non-coding RNAs, researchers have identified four miRNAs that together perfectly discriminated between nonmalignant and malignant tissue, including one alone that classified 81% of the samples correctly. Levels of two miRNAs correlated with overall survival time.

Urinary bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the West. According to the National Cancer Institute, it is estimated that in the United States 72,570 individuals will be diagnosed with and 15,210 will die of cancer of the urinary bladder in 2013. At presentation, in 75% of patients the cancers are confined to the mucosa or submucosa (known as non-muscle invasive bladder cancer, NMIBC), whereas in 25% of cases the cancers have already invaded nearby muscle (muscle-invasive bladder cancer, MIBC).

In a series of experiments, investigators analyzed bladder tissue from patients with NMIBC, MIBC, and nonmalignant bladders. After screening 723 miRNAs by microarray, they selected a subset of 15 distinctively deregulated miRNAs for further validation by real-time quantitative PCR. Seven miRNAs were found to be up-regulated, and eight were down-regulated in malignant bladder tissue samples compared to healthy tissue. Four miRNAs were expressed differently in bladder cancers that invaded muscle compared to those that did not. With one exception, no correlation was found between tumor stage and miRNA levels.

When all 15 of the selected miRNAs were considered together, they correctly classified 100% of tissues as either normal or malignant. Further analysis identified four miRNAs that led to 100% correct classification, and one miRNA (miR-130b) that by itself had an 81% accuracy rate. “These results underline the great potential of miRNAs to serve as diagnostic markers, as previously noted for other urological tumors,” says lead investigator Klaus Jung, MD, the Department of Urology at the University Hospital Charité, Berlin and the Berlin Institute for Urologic Research.

The investigators found that tumor grading could not be correlated with overall survival. Yet, they were able to find two miRNAs that significantly correlated with survival: miR-141 and miR-205. miR-141 showed a trend (P=0.08) of being able to stratify patients with muscle-invasive tumors into two groups with different overall survival times. “This finding could be of clinical importance, but these results must be interpreted cautiously,” says Dr. Jung. “However, previously published studies underline the possible prognostic potential of miRNAs to predict progression and disease-specific or overall survival in bladder cancer patients.”

miRNAs are small non-coding RNAs that contain between 19 and 24 nucleotides. miRNAs regulate gene expression by degrading messenger RNAs or impairing their translation. In recent years there has been a growing interest in miRNAs as potential diagnostic and/or prognostic biomarkers in cancers and other diseases.

Study: miRNA Profiling Identifies Candidate miRNAs for Bladder Cancer Diagnosis and Clinical Outcome [Journal of Molecular Diagnostics]

Source: Elsevier