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Biomarker Progress Offers Hope for Early Autism Spectrum Disorder Detection

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are neurodevelopmental disorders typically characterized by difficulties in social interactions and delayed or abnormal language development. Although ASD reportedly affects 1 in 88 people in the United States, to date there have been no distinctive biomarkers to diagnose the disease. In a special themed issue of Disease Markers, investigators report on the current understanding of ASD genetics and the possibilities of translating genetic research toward biomarker development in ASD.

DART Therapeutics Completes Study of New Biomarker for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

DART Therapeutics, LLC, an innovative, new-model biotechnology firm focused on developing therapies for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), announced today the successful completion of a study to evaluate a promising new biomarker for DMD. The biomarker, electrical impedance myography (EIM), is a non-invasive and simple-to-use technique that allows the operator to measure the health of a muscle and track its changes over time. The information can help researchers evaluate how well a treatment is working to halt disease progression, which could support more precise drug therapy for DMD boys and faster, less expensive drug development for the disease overall.

Decoding DNA Finds Breast Tumor Signatures that Predict Treatment Response

Decoding the DNA of patients with advanced breast cancer has allowed scientists to identify distinct cancer “signatures” that could help predict which women are most likely to benefit from estrogen-lowering therapy, while sparing others from unnecessary treatment.

GW Researchers Discover Biomarker for Advanced Bile Duct Fibrosis and Bile Duct Cancer

GW Researchers, Jeffrey M. Bethony, Ph.D., associate professor of Microbiology, Immunology, and Tropical Medicine, and Paul Brindley, Ph.D., professor of Microbiology, Immunology, and Tropical Medicine at GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences, along with colleagues from Khon Kaen University in Thailand have determined that plasma Interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels are an sensitive and specific biomarker for the detection of the advanced bile duct fibrosis and bile duct cancer that comes from chronic infection with the Asian Liver Fluke (Opisthorchis viverrini). The research, titled, “Elevated Plasma IL-6 Associates with Increased Risk of Advanced Fibrosis and Cholangiocarcinoma in Individuals Infected by Opisthorchis viverrini,” was recently published in the journal, PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Alzheimer’s Association Awards Largest Ever Research Grant to DIAN for Innovative Therapy Trials

The Alzheimer’s Association announced recently the awarding of its largest ever research grant – nearly $4.2 million over four years – to the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer’s Network–Therapeutic Trials Unit (DIAN-TTU), based at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, to enable the program to move forward more quickly with innovative drug and biomarker trials in people with genetically-based, young-onset Alzheimer’s disease.