Published on: March 6, 2012
by The Wall Street Journal
Mayo Clinic today announced that Mayo Medical Laboratories has signed an agreement with A&G Pharmaceutical, Inc. and will receive a non-exclusive license to certain patent rights and proprietary antibody reagents for the detection and measurement of progranulin in blood. This agreement will let Mayo Clinic offer the first commercial blood test to predict progranulin mutation status in patients suspected to have frontotemporal dementia (FTD).
The blood test will be available in late 2012 for all Mayo Clinic patients and will be offered through Mayo Medical Laboratories to hospitals and clinics worldwide.
FTD accounts for at least 5 to 10 percent of dementia cases. It is common among patients with early-onset dementia. FTD affects the brain’s frontal lobe, which regulates behavior, movement, mood and language. Most FTD patients are diagnosed when they show changes in personality, loss of memory and ability to use language.
In 2006, researchers at Mayo Clinic published research in Nature that found the mutation of the progranulin gene (PGRN) causes a reduction of the protein progranulin in the brain. Along with other changes, this leads to neuronal death and atrophy of the frontal lobes of the brain, ultimately leading to dementia.
Genetic testing is available to find the mutation, but it is costly. In 2009, Mayo Clinic researcher Rosa Rademakers, Ph.D., and colleagues discovered that FTD patients with PGRN mutations showed a reduction in blood progranulin levels compared to controls and FTD patients without PGRN mutations. Based on these findings and using A&G’s proprietary antibody reagents, Mayo researchers developed an easy-to-use, cost-effective blood test for measuring the level of progranulin.
“The progranulin blood test provides an inexpensive tool to identify progranulin mutation carriers in patients with early-onset dementia or asymptomatic relatives of FTD patients,” says Alicia Algeciras-Schimnich, Ph.D., assistant professor of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at the College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic.
Dr. Ginette Serrero, CEO of A&G Pharmaceutical, states, “A&G has pioneered and patented research investigating expression of progranulin in breast cancer and lung cancer. Research has shown that breast cancer patients have an elevated level of progranulin when compared to healthy individuals. We are delighted that our clinical studies with breast cancer patients and development of progranulin antibodies and assays also will help FTD patients.”
Although it’s great to celebrate the big achievements, it’s also important to celebrate the small wins.
Women are affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia in much larger numbers than men. Approximately two-thirds of Canadians and Americans living with dementia are women. Why are women disproportionately affected? Partly, it...
Your brain is affected by what you eat! Join us Thurs. Jan. 21st for an engaging culinary virtual event. Featuring Special Guest MARK McEWAN Celebrity Chef and Restauranteur With...
The material presented through the Think Tank feature on this website is in no way intended to replace professional medical care or attention by a qualified practitioner. WBHI strongly advises all questioners and viewers using this feature with health problems to consult a qualified physician, especially before starting any treatment. The materials provided on this website cannot and should not be used as a basis for diagnosis or choice of treatment. The materials are not exhaustive and cannot always respect all the most recent research in all areas of medicine.