Gene Expression and Diagnosis of Autoimmune Disease

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2R42AI053984-04A2
Agency Tracking Number: AI053984
Amount: $2,651,460.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2008
Solicitation Year: 2008
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: PHS2007-2
Small Business Information
DUNS: 148077766
HUBZone Owned: Y
Woman Owned: Y
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Y
Principal Investigator
 (615) 343-7353
Business Contact
Phone: (615) 343-4208
Research Institution
 Medical Center
Franklin, TN, 37203
 Nonprofit college or university
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Autoimmune diseases are thought to arise from abnormalities in innate or adaptive immune responses and most likely have both genetic and environmental components. Diagnosis of autoimmune disease is often difficult, as t he symptoms can be relatively nonspecific. Furthermore, no available blood test can accurately exclude the possibility of an autoimmune disease in a subject with such symptoms. At best, a battery of tests and evaluation by a specialist physician over a per iod of time are required to establish that a patient does in fact have an autoimmune disorder. Initial studies have demonstrated that measurement of gene expression in peripheral blood samples separates subjects with autoimmune disorders from healthy contr ols with a high degree of accuracy. In the first part of the Phase II period, these observations were extended to demonstrate that expression levels of a less than six genes measured by quantitative real-time PCR can produce similar results. The results sh ow that separation of MS patients from normal controls can be achieved with a high degree of accuracy. Other findings indicate utility of this approach in the diagnosis of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus. It is now propo sed to extend and expand these results to include larger and more diverse patient groups and to evaluate longitudinal changes. Three specific aims are proposed: Specific Aim I. To better define optimum diagnostic tests for MS, RA, and SLE, we will deter mine test performance in subjects with other neurologic, other rheumatologic conditions or other chronic diseases. Specific Aim II. We will evaluate test performance in cohorts of individuals from different geographic regions, in individuals with early or incomplete disease, in first-degree unaffected relatives of individuals with MS, RA, or SLE, and in subjects prior to and after initiation of standard therapies for each disease. Specific Aim III. We will design test standards and perform validation studies for our tests as required for FDA approval. We anticipate that the result of these studies will be marketed tests for autoimmune diagnosis that will have a significant impact on patient care. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Autoimmune diseases aff ect 5% of the population. Unlike many other chronic diseases, these maladies can afflict children and young adults, with long-term health consequences. Diagnosis in early disease stages would be facilitated by the availability of more accurate blood tests, and this is key to timely institution of definitive therapies for prevention of irreversible organ damage.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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