Salt Lake City, Utah-based company Lineagen Inc was recently awarded a grant from The National Multiple Sclerosis Society to fund research programs that could potentially provide new techniques for diagnosing patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and determining how severely it will affect them. 

The molecular diagnostic company, which spun off from the University of Utah in 2005, received a $622,000 pledge through the National MS Society’s nonprofit subsidiary Fast Forward. The funding will support its research programs at the labs of John Rose, MD, professor of neurology at the University of Utah and Mark Leppert, PhD, professor of human genetics at the University of Utah. During his research, Rose reportedly recruited 500 patients through his clinic, and compared the genetic data with the patients’ relatives listed in the University of Utah’s Utah Population Database. 

Michael Paul, PhD, Lineagen president and CEO, explains that Rose first pinpoints various non-genetic markers and correlates these markers with a patient’s genetics, providing a predictive opportunity. “The funding from Fast Forward will accelerate this clinical program, allowing the collaborative team to evaluate and affirm a broad number of biomarkers simultaneously, with the collective goal of delivering our best testing services to physicians and patients,” Paul adds.

Timothy Coetzee, PhD, National MS Society chief research officer, reiterates the goals held by each organization and how their partnership enhances these goals, “Fast Forward’s partnership with Lineagen reflects our commitment to create new tools and technology to assist physicians in making diagnostic and treatment decisions that will improve the quality of life for people living with this disease,” Coetzee says.

Lineagen reports that its program’s key goal is to ultimately provide physicians with the ability to predict the trajectory of the disease, optimizing therapy. Rose says the funding provided by Fast Forward will allow the team to answer critical questions about and gain key insights into the disease that have the potential to impact the lives of people living with MS.

Source: National MS Society