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Medicineworld.org: New Cystic Fibrosis Test Developed

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New Cystic Fibrosis Test Developed

New Cystic Fibrosis Test Developed
Prospective parents will have access to a less expensive blood test to determine if they carry the gene for deadly cystic fibrosis, thanks in part to technology developed by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill chemist Dr. Holden Thorp.

Thorp's technology is used in a new product being distributed commercially by Osmetech plc, the Pasadena, Calif.-based international health-care diagnostics group.

Osmetech has received clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the cystic fibrosis carrier detection tests and its eSensor 4800 DNA Detection instrument platform.

The intellectual property that protects the eSensor includes patents from the laboratory of Thorp, Kenan professor and chairman of the department of chemistry in UNC's College of Arts and Sciences. The rights to the UNC patents, which formed the basis of the Research Triangle Park-based company Xanthon in 1996, were acquired by Motorola Inc. and later by Osmetech.

"It has been a long journey from the first time we drew an electrochemical gene sensor on the back of an envelope 11 years ago," Thorp said. "It's really satisfying to see those ideas begin to improve human health".

More than 10 million Americans are unknowing, symptomless carriers of the defective cystic fibrosis gene, as per the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. If two carriers conceive, there is a 25 percent chance that their child will have the disease and a 50 percent chance the child will become a carrier.

About 30,000 children and adults nationwide have cystic fibrosis, which causes the body to produce abnormally thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening infections.

The American College of Medical Genetics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommended in 2001 that cystic fibrosis carrier testing should be made available for all couples planning to have children.

About 1 million cystic fibrosis tests are conducted annually nationwide, but they are complex, costly and only available at specially equipped laboratories. Current tests cost about $400 and are performed on equipment costing about $100,000, as per Osmetech.

Because the new Osmetech test has received FDA clearance and relies on simpler technology and instrumentation, it will be more widely available and less expensive than current tests, company officials said.

Osmetech officials think that the carrier detection test is only the beginning for electrochemical DNA diagnostics.

"Following the approval of the eSensor platform, we now look forward to progressing discussions with strategic partners who are looking for cost-effective and easy-to-use instrumentation and products for health-care markets and non-health-care markets," said James White, Osmetech chief executive officer.

Thorp has written more than 120 peer-reviewed publications and holds nine issued U.S. patents. He directed UNC's Morehead Planetarium and Science Center from 2001 through 2004.

In January, another team of UNC scientists announced cystic fibrosis study findings indicating that inhaling a concentrated saltwater aerosol solution for between 10 and 15 minutes twice daily could promote clearance of mucus in the lungs that traps particles, viruses and bacteria. The findings were reported in the Jan. 19 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

The new treatment, identified through studies supported chiefly by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, appears to be safe, inexpensive and easy to take.

A complementary and collaborative study, with findings also reported in the NEJM, was conducted by Australian scientists and found similar results.



Source: The University of North Carolina

Posted by: JoAnn    Source




Did you know?
Prospective parents will have access to a less expensive blood test to determine if they carry the gene for deadly cystic fibrosis, thanks in part to technology developed by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill chemist Dr. Holden Thorp. Thorp's technology is used in a new product being distributed commercially by Osmetech plc, the Pasadena, Calif.-based international health-care diagnostics group.

Medicineworld.org: New Cystic Fibrosis Test Developed

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