AsianScientist (Aug. 15, 2016) – UK biotechnology company Oxford BioDynamics, which has a subsidiary in Penang, Malaysia, is expanding its biomarker discovery program for diagnostic tests for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that affects the function of nerves and muscles and shortens lifespan. With onset of the disease, nerve cells called motor neurons progressively waste away, inhibiting the brain’s ability to initiate and control muscle movement. Eventually, patients lose the ability to walk, dress, write, speak, swallow and breathe.
This part of the research program will recruit ALS patients and healthy subjects in Malaysia and will be overseen by Professor Goh Khean Jin, head of neurology at the University of Malaya.
The study in Malaysia will develop a test designed to help doctors diagnose the disease within weeks of initial symptoms appearing in patients. The range and complexity of symptoms exhibited by patients with ALS means that it can take up to a year for a diagnosis to be confirmed after the initial symptoms begin to appear.
“The effect of delayed diagnosis in ALS patients can be catastrophic for quality of life among patients,” said chief scientific officer and co-founder of Oxford BioDynamics Dr. Alexandre Akoulitchev.
“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.”
Source: Oxford BioDynamics.
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