Novel RNA Diagnostic Tests Monitor Organ Health in Neurodegenerative, Liver Diseases

Ana de Barros, PhD avatar

by Ana de Barros, PhD |

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San Diego-based Molecular Stethoscope, a company that develops blood-based early detection and disease monitoring tests, is partnering with 23 national medical and academic institutions to address some of the most puzzling scientific questions about disease diagnosis and monitoring.

The company has developed clinically actionable tests that analyze organ-specific circulating (or cell-free) RNA in patients’ blood that will provide early detection and disease monitoring in critical and often hard-to-detect areas, including:

The approach provides a real-time snapshot of organ health using RNA to represent the patient’s phenotype, allowing for a rapid, accurate, non-invasive evaluation of healthy and diseased states.

RNA is a tissue-specific transcript of DNA which can be amplified by orders of magnitude to facilitate quantitative comparisons and interpretation. Through measurements of RNA from many healthy individuals, Molecular Stethoscope has established baseline levels of tissue-specific RNA which are reproducible and consistent. Deviations in these levels can be significant and can indicate organ-specific disease.

“Molecular Stethoscope’s collaborations will allow us to gain valuable information about disease states through analysis of blood from a wide spectrum of disease stages and conditions,” Tina S. Nova, Ph.D., president and CEO of Molecular Stethoscope, said in a recent press release.

So far, the company has received more than 700 serum and plasma patient samples from its partners to continue validating its molecular diagnostics approach based on cell-free circulating RNA.

Samples from patients suffering with Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and others will be used to gain insights about these conditions and their influence on cell-free transcriptome — RNA sequences that change in response to a specific disease or treatment.

“We are honored to work with renowned institutions across the U.S. to further our development of clinically actionable tests to improve patient health,” said Jonathan Aballi, head of laboratory operations at Molecular Stethoscope.

Molecular Stethoscope aims to decrease healthcare costs through earlier disease detection and intervention.