UK-based biotechnology company Oxford Biodynamics along with its subsidiary in Malaysia is expanding the biomarker discovery programme for diagnostic tests to address Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
The research programme, which intends to involve patients suffering from ALS, as well as healthy subjects, will be headed by University of Malaya neurology head Professor Goh Khean Jin.
The trial is aimed at developing tests to assist doctors in diagnosing ALS within the initial period of the exhibition of symptoms.
A diagnosis to confirm the disease can take a year due to the range and complexity of the symptoms associated with the disease.
The studies to be conducted in Malaysia will follow the UK study of 100 ALS patients and 100 healthy subjects.
The UK study found support from the UK government and Oxford University and the study conducted in the US was supported by Massachusetts General Hospital and the Northeast Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Consortium (NEALS).
Oxford BioDynamics co-founder and CEO Dr Alexandre Akoulitchev said: “The effect of delayed diagnosis in ALS patients can be catastrophic for quality of life among patients.
“Our work in Malaysia, looking at how chromosomes fold differently inside healthy and diseased cells, will help us bring forward fully developed biomarker tools for patients with ALS.
“We are very excited to see the immediate results from applications in neurodegenerative indications, especially in ALS, where the unmet clinical need for early diagnosis and prognosis is great.”
The previous findings in the research detected nine systemic epigenetic biomarkers in ALS patients related to the immuno-footprint of the disease.
The Malaysian study will be conducted on the basis of these biomarkers, demonstrating their applicability across the breadth of the human genome.