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Hasselt University and INOVA Diagnostics Enter into Research Collaboration and License Agreement for Novel Diagnostics
Oct 28 13
Hasselt University and INOVA Diagnostics announced the completion of an exclusive, worldwide license agreement and research collaboration for technology developed at the University. This technology represents an important advance in the diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). VIB, the Flemish life sciences research institute, assisted Hasselt University in patenting the RA markers and in the license negotiations. Initial studies by Hasselt University showed that these biomarkers hold great promise for improved diagnosis. Approximately one-third of RA patients are negative for the two serological markers that are predominantly used in the diagnosis of RA: rheumatoid factor (RF) and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptides (CCP). While third generation CCP assays (CCP 3.0 and CCP 3.1) have increased sensitivity in early disease, some RA patients remain seronegative. The aim of the initial Hasselt University study was to identify additional autoantibody markers for seronegative RA and early RA. All early RA patients were positive for at least one of the 14 novel autoantibodies, and antibody positivity was associated with a shorter disease duration (P = 0.0087). 52% of RA patients who initially tested negative for RF and CCP were positive for at least one of the 14 novel autoantibodies, resulting in a 19% increase in sensitivity compared to current serological testing. Moreover, five of the novel autoantibodies were detected more frequently in seronegative RA patients, indicating that these autoantibodies constitute novel candidate markers for this RA subtype.
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