RiboMed Biotechnologies, Inc., a CLIA-certified diagnostic company, today announced the receipt of a $165,000 Small Business Innovative Research contract awarded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The project, entitled “Non-invasive assay for the diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis” will focus on the development of a test for early detection of endometriosis from a woman’s bodily fluids using an epigenetic biomarker panel, including gene-specific DNA methylation.
Endometriosis occurs when the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) starts to grow outside the uterus, causing pelvic pain and reduced fertility. Although approximately 1 in 10 women of childbearing age suffer from endometriosis, there currently exists no easy method for detection, with the average time from onset of symptoms to diagnosis being 7-10 years. The only definitive diagnostic method is surgical, generally requiring laparoscopy. A 2017 study of the annual healthcare costs, and the costs of productivity loss associated with endometriosis, estimated them to be over $22 billion a year in the US alone.
“Because of this debilitating disease, millions of women suffer for decades from pain, productivity loss and infertility”, said Dr. Michelle Hanna, CEO of RiboMed. “Our goal is to develop a non-invasive test that will allow early detection, and therefore treatment, before significant damage is done to both a woman’s reproductive system and her quality of life.” Previous research has suggested an epigenetic component to endometriosis, including variations in methylation of genes known to be involved in the aberrant hormonal, immunologic, and inflammatory aspects of the illness.
Ribomed has developed and commercialized a platform technology for quantitatively measuring gene-specific DNA methylation at high sensitivity and with an extremely low failure rate, even with degraded samples and low concentrations of target. Diagnostic tests in several areas of oncology are in development. Ribomed will continue to offer its brain tumor stratification tests in its clinical services laboratory, including MGMT methylation and CIMP analysis of GBMs. Application of its core epigenetic detection technology to endometriosis test development is part of the Company’s expansion into women’s health.
RiboMed Biotechnologies (www.ribomed.com) is a CAP-accredited, CLIA-certified molecular diagnostic clinical laboratory and CRO. RiboMed offers DNA methylation-based tests for drug response in clinical trials, as well as development services to research institutions and the pharmaceutical industries. RiboMed’s MethylMeter® tests use their proprietary biomarker detection technology, Abscription®, to provide superior sensitivity and specificity for the measurement of DNA methylation in clinical samples. Research Use Only (RUO) kits, reagents, and technology licensing are also available.
Research reported in this publication was supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R43HD097719. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health”
Michelle Hanna, PhD