Amorfix will develop a diagnostic test and complete its ALS disease management product portfolio
TORONTO, Nov. 17, 2011 /CNW/ - Amorfix Life Sciences, a product development company focused on diagnostics and therapeutics for misfolded protein diseases, today announced that the Company is developing a blood test to be used as a diagnostic tool for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Initial ground breaking scientific study results from Amorfix Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Neil Cashman and colleagues at UBC demonstrate that misfolded SOD1 is present in the blood of ALS patients. The Company plans to capitalize on this discovery and existing scientific expertise to develop a simple blood test that measures misfolded SOD1 in blood. The Company has established key intellectual property around misfolded SOD1 and its potential role in neurodegenerative disease which covers the generation and use of any diagnostic, therapeutic or vaccine involving misfolded SOD1.
ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is an incurable degenerative disease of the central nervous system affecting the motor functions of patients, progressing inexorably with no effective treatment other than supportive measures. At the present time, clinicians must rely on a combination of clinical findings and imaging to confirm the diagnosis, as there is no diagnostic test or biomarker at their disposal. "The availability of a reliable blood test would represent an important leap in the management of this devastating disease, allowing clinicians to conduct better clinical studies, and eventually begin treatment earlier", said Dr. Cashman.
"The preliminary data shows that misfolded SOD1 can be measured in the blood of ALS patients" said Dr. Robert Gundel, Amorfix President and Chief Executive Officer. "This latest project completes our strategy to develop a product portfolio for specific disease management that includes both a diagnostic and a therapeutic for treatment of existing disease. The SOD1 diagnostic completes this package for ALS. Our partner, Biogen-Idec, is developing our therapeutic antibody and the Pan-Provincial Vaccine Enterprise Inc. (PREVENT) is developing our therapeutic vaccine. We believe that these programs will provide treating physicians with an effective portfolio of tools that could be used to diagnose and treat disease".
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, ALS or Lou Gerhig's disease, is a fatal neurodegenerative disease. People living with the disease become progressively paralyzed due to degeneration of the upper and lower motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord. Eighty per cent of people with ALS die within two to five years of diagnosis; unable to breathe or swallow. Ten per cent of those affected may live for 10 years or longer.
Amorfix Life Sciences Ltd. (TSX:AMF) is a product development company developing therapeutic products and diagnostic devices targeting misfolded protein diseases including Alzheimer's Disease (AD), cancers, and ALS. Amorfix utilizes its computational discovery platform, ProMISTM, to predict novel Disease Specific Epitopes ("DSEs") on the molecular surface of misfolded proteins. Cancer immunotherapies have in the past been directed against targets which are also present on normal cells, whereas Amorfix's innovative ProMIS platform identifies targets present only on cancer cells, retaining efficacy with improved safety. Amorfix's lead programs include therapeutics and companion diagnostics for cancers, antibodies and vaccines to DSEs in ALS and AD diagnostic tests. Amorfix's proprietary Epitope ProtectionTM technology enables it to specifically identify very low levels of misfolded proteins in a biological sample. The Company's diagnostic programs include an ultrasensitive method for the detection of aggregated beta-Amyloid in brain tissue, CSF and blood from animal models of AD, months prior to observable amyloid formation, and development of a human screening test for AD. For more information about Amorfix, visit www.amorfix.com.
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