Genomic Vision Extends Collaboration with Quest Diagnostics to Improve SMA Diagnosis

Genomic Vision and Quest Diagnostics have agreed to extend their collaboration focusing on the potential development of new biomarkers to improve genetic diagnosis of spinal muscular atrophy. The partners will accelerate the pace of their efforts to identify new biomarkers with the possibility of detecting SMA “2+0” carrier status, referring to carriers who have two survival motor neuron 1 gene copies on one chromosome and none on the other. The identification of this rare form of mutation would lead to improved sensitivity in SMA screening. This announcement follows previous research by the two companies that demonstrated evidence that this pattern could be detected by molecular combing, a user-friendly technique that allows DNA to be analyzed at the single molecule level. Although healthy parents of a child with SMA carry the SMN1 gene defect, they do not have any symptoms of the disease. A carrier with the 2+0 pattern cannot be distinguished from a noncarrier, and test results may not reliably identify this particular carrier status. Genomic Vision has pioneered a molecular combing system that could potentially detect this pattern and reliably identify carrier status. This test stretches and assembles millions of large DNA fragments in a single step. The resulting DNA is organized in discrete strands, allowing for analysis at the single molecule level. Under the new agreement, Quest will be solely responsible for developing, validating, and offering new lab tests.

Muscular Dystrophy Association to Expand Registry to Cover Seven Diseases

The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) has asked the medical data services company IQVIA to expand its disease registry into a hub of information on seven neuromuscular conditions, including spinal muscular dystrophy (SMA). The repository will include disease information from care providers, genetics data, and patient-reported information. In addition to SMA, the…

Potential Therapeutic Target Against SMA is Identified

Neurochondrin, a protein essential for nerve cells, was found to interact with the survivor motor neuron protein (SMN), whose deficiency causes spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). This finding reveals a previously unknown player and potential therapeutic target for SMA. The study “Neurochondrin interacts with…