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Serum DNA Analysis May Identify Early Presence of Disease

A new study further confirms the potential diagnostic and prognostic utility of using circulating fragments of DNA to detect early-stage disease, according to researchers from Chronix Biomedical and collaborating institutions who reported their findings online on May 27 in Zoonoses and Public Health. The DNA fragments, referred to as serum DNA, are released into the blood stream in trace amounts during the disease process. Chronix Biomedical has developed proprietary technology that it says can find, isolate, and identify these serum DNA sequences, enabling very early detection of an underlying disease state or of a change in response to treatment. In the current study, the researchers were able to identify specific signature sequences in serum DNA before clinical symptoms appeared in animals experimentally infected with BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy or mad cow disease). "These new results add to the growing body of scientific data validating the value of serum DNA as an early indicator of disease, and also advance our unique ability to apply these findings to the development of laboratory tests for routine clinical use," said Dr. Howard Urnovitz, CEO of Chronix, and one of the authors of the study. "Using our proprietary technology and next-generation sequencers, we were able to identify distinctive DNA signatures indicating the presence of BSE in all of the infected animals well before clinical symptoms appeared." These new findings follow three previous published studies demonstrating the utility of using serum DNA to identify human cancers, human infectious disease, and BSE. [Press release] [Zoonoses and Public Health abstract]