Ignyta and UC San Diego Researchers Find that Permanent Epigenetic Alterations Are Associated with Immune Function in Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Ignyta and UC San Diego Researchers Find that Permanent Epigenetic Alterations Are Associated with Immune Function in Rheumatoid Arthritis

Ignyta, Inc.Zachary Hornby, 858-255-5955

Scientists from Ignyta, Inc., the personalized medicine company dedicated to improving the diagnosis and treatment of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and other autoimmune diseases, along with scientists from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, led by Gary S. Firestein, M.D., have published new findings about the immune function in rheumatoid arthritis. Their findings are published online in the April 2013 issue of the journal ().

The study, “An Imprinted Rheumatoid Arthritis Methylome Signature Reflects Pathogenic Phenotype,” demonstrates that the promoter regions of certain key genes are differentially methylated in the fibroblast like synoviocytes (FLS) of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients when compared to osteoarthritis patients and to healthy control subjects. These differentially methylated genes (DMG) mapped to biological pathways involved with immune functions implicated in autoimmune disease. The pathway analysis could be used to identify novel therapeutic targets to treat diseases like RA. Importantly, the differential methylation patterns found in the FLS of RA patients were stable for at least seven cell passages, demonstrating that these epigenetic changes are durable.

“Ignyta’s and our collaborators’ work in this field may be useful not only to discover biomarkers that help diagnose autoimmune disease, but also to help understand and explain the underlying pathophysiology that contributes to disease,” said Jonathan Lim, M.D., chairman and CEO of Ignyta. “We appreciate our collaboration with Dr. Firestein and his lifelong devotion to elucidating the biology of rheumatoid arthritis.”

Contributors to the study include John Whitaker, Wei Wang, and David Boyle, UC San Diego; Robert Shoemaker and David Anderson, Ignyta, Inc.

This project was supported in part by grants from the Rheumatology Research Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, National Center for Advancing Translational Science.

Ignyta, Inc., located in San Diego, California, is a personalized medicine company developing revolutionary new products and services to customize diagnosis and treatment of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and other autoimmune diseases.

The company was launched in August 2011 by Jonathan E. Lim, M.D., former president, CEO, and board director of Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc., and Gary S. Firestein, M.D., director of the Clinical and Translational Research Institute, Dean and Associate Vice Chancellor of Translational Medicine, and Professor of Medicine at UC San Diego. Ignyta is a trailblazer in the application of “omics” technologies integrated with bioinformatics to the development and commercialization of novel biomarkers and tests for diagnostic and therapeutic applications in autoimmune diseases.

The scientific discoveries that fueled the founding of Ignyta were published in July 2012 in the (). In 2012, the company successfully closed a $5.5 million Series B financing led by City Hill Ventures, LLC () and Colt Ventures (). In 2012 and 2013, the company received $500,000 and $1,000,000 capital term loans, respectively, from Silicon Valley Bank (). For more information, please visit: .