University, Medical Center Partner for Development of Diagnostic Tests for HIV Drug Resistance

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Case Western Reserve University has signed an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement granting University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center rights to a series of diagnostic tests to determine drug resistance and co-receptor tropism in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

The phenotypic and genotypic HIV tests (or assays) were invented by Eric Arts, PhD, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, and Miguel Quiñones-Mateu, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Pathology at the School of Medicine and scientific director at the University Hospitals Translational Laboratory (UHTL).

The HIV assays provide a platform of diagnostic tests used by physicians and researchers to monitor the success of anti-HIV treatment by determining drug resistance and the ability of the virus to infect different cells within the patient. The HIV assays also can be used by academic and corporate researchers to develop novel strategies to block HIV replication.

In July 2011, UH Case Medical Center created the UHTL with the goal of advancing and further developing new molecular diagnostic methodologies originally conceived in the academic and clinical laboratories at UH Case Medical Center and Case Western Reserve. UHTL’s main objective is to facilitate the development of translational research into commercial assays or products, including characterization, verification, and validation in a College of American Pathologists and Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act (CAP/CLIA) certified environment under a Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) framework.

The UHTL occupies 4,200 square feet of office and laboratory space, including BSL-2+, in the Baker Electric Building (MidTown, Cleveland, Ohio) and was recently CAP accredited. The first series of cell-based and molecular HIV diagnostic tests will be offered by the UHTL during the second quarter of this year.

“The UHTL has provided us with an exciting opportunity to develop new molecular diagnostic tests, and the collaboration of Drs. Quiñones-Mateu and Arts has been particularly fruitful for developing these new tests that will benefit patients by allowing individually targeted selection of therapies for HIV infection,” says Clifford V. Harding, MD, PhD, the Joseph R. Kahn, MD Professor of Pathology and chair of Department of Pathology at Case Western Reserve and UH Case Medical Center.

“A personalized, four-in-one integrated assay has been launched to provide a highly advanced way to ensure optimal care for HIV infected patients. New collaborations between Case Western Reserve and UH are in process to provide enhanced care for patients with hepatitis and cancer,” says Arts.

“The UHTL allows UH Case Medical Center to remain on the leading-edge of molecular diagnostic testing. It clearly demonstrates our commitment to our mission: ‘To heal, To teach and To discover,” says Ronald E. Dziedzicki, chief operating officer at UH Case Medical Center. “This new capability will clearly benefit patients with HIV infection in a more targeted manner, thereby impacting the quality of their life. UHTL also provides a platform to assist with the movement of other new and novel testing modalities from a concept to reality. The establishment of this lab and new testing modalities also demonstrates the value of the relationship between UH Case Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University and our quest to improve patient care with new leading edge technologies.”

DEEPGEN - TM HIV is a first-in-class assay based on the latest technology developed to rapidly detect variants and mutations in any given genome with high sensitivity. Current tests are able to detect drug resistant viruses with a sensitivity of 20 percent, while DEEPGEN - TM HIV is able to detect these mutant viruses at frequencies as low as 1 percent. This will give the opportunity to the physicians to "see" the mutant viruses many months in advance and decide whether or not change the treatment before the patient begins to fail HIV therapy.

Source: University Hospitals Case Medical Center

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