MONMOUTH JUNCTION, N.J., Nov. 14, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — DiamiR, a developer of innovative minimally invasive diagnostic tests for neurodegenerative and other diseases, announced today the publication of “Circulating brain-enriched microRNAs as novel biomarkers for detection and differentiation of neurodegenerative diseases” in Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy [https://doi.org/10.1186/s13195-017-0316-0].
The study reported in the publication was conducted in collaboration with researchers at Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Specific brain-enriched and inflammation-associated microRNAs were analyzed in 250 blood plasma samples from patients with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and healthy age/sex-matched controls. microRNA classifiers effectively differentiated disease states from control with 83% to 90% accuracy, and from each other with 77% to 93% accuracy across the four indications. The accuracy of detection and differentiation of the four neurodegenerative diseases was further increased by the analysis of brain-enriched microRNA classifiers separately in samples from female and male participants, suggesting that sex-specific assays could yield higher accuracy in diagnosing neurodegenerative diseases.
“Minimally invasive specific biomarkers for differential diagnosis and prognosis of neurodegenerative diseases can facilitate selection of more homogeneous patient groups for relevant clinical trials. Surrogate blood biomarkers reflective of brain processes can also be used for disease progression and treatment monitoring. In this study we demonstrated the ability of our targeted diagnostic technology to differentiate four neurodegenerative pathologies from control and from each other,” said Samuil Umansky, MD, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer of DiamiR and senior author on the paper. “We are pleased with the study results and are very grateful to our collaborators, Dr. Trojanowski and his colleagues, for providing us with the opportunity to analyze well-characterized plasma samples from study participants recruited from 2003 to 2015 at Penn Medicine as well as for contributing their clinical expertise to the project.” John Trojanowski, MD, PhD, is director of the Penn Institute on Aging.
About microRNAs as biomarkers of brain health
microRNAs are a class of small non-coding regulatory RNA molecules, which modulate target gene expression and protein production, and whose levels often change in disease. Certain microRNAs are enriched in different brain regions (e.g. hippocampus, frontal cortex, midbrain), cells (e.g. neurons), and cellular compartments (e.g. synapses and neurites). microRNAs can cross the blood-brain barrier and be detected in the bloodstream. Synaptic dysfunction and/or loss occur early in the development of many neurodegenerative diseases. Thus, brain-enriched microRNAs, present in synapses and detectable in plasma, can be effective and patient-friendly biomarkers, reflective of processes underlying brain health conditions.
DiamiR Biosciences is a privately held molecular diagnostics company focused on developing minimally invasive tests for early detection and monitoring of neurodegenerative and other conditions. The proprietary technology is based on quantitative analysis of organ-enriched microRNA classifiers in plasma and is being developed for screening, patient stratification, as well as disease progression and treatment monitoring. DiamiR is currently developing its first diagnostic product, CogniMIR™, for early, including pre-symptomatic, detection of neurodegeneration associated with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. DiamiR collaborates with leading academic centers, disease foundations, and pharma companies. For more information, please visit the company’s website at www.diamirbio.com.
Kira Sheinerman, PhD, MBA
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