The life science tech company IQuity has begun taking orders from physicians for an RNA-based blood test that can provide reliable yes or no results for multiple sclerosis in seven days – dramatically faster than previous options, which took months or years.
The test, IsolateMS, can be a game-changer in diagnosing MS when administered at the start of symptoms, the company said. Currently, diagnostics for MS rely on measuring the progress of irreversible neurological damage.
IsolateMS analyzes RNA information in blood to identify the presence or absence of an autoimmune disease and monitor the progression of the disease at the cell level. The test detects MS at the start of symptoms with 90 percent accuracy, the company said. This means doctors can confirm a suspected diagnosis faster and start a treatment plan much sooner.
“The team at IQuity is thrilled with the level of interest from physicians who see value in ordering the test for their patients,” Chase Spurlock, chief executive officer of IQuity, said in a press release. “IsolateMS fills an unmet need in autoimmune diagnostics. By relying on the power of RNA, we can give providers critical information about the patient’s condition earlier than before. We are also seeing strong interest from other researchers and pharmaceutical companies who are interested in collaborating with us as we advance our research.”
The test builds on IQuity’s IQIsolate technology, which matches RNA markers in blood against profiles of both healthy and sick patients. The technology can thus determine if the patient’s profile is consistent with that of a specific disease.
IQuity’s co-founders, Spurlock and Thomas Aune, of Vanderbilt University were among the first to use machine-learning processes to look for a potential link between long, non-coding RNA gene expression and autoimmune diseases.
Jagannadha Avasarala, an associate professor of neurology at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine in Greenville, believes that “neurologists and neuro-immunologists should embrace IsolateMS since it is the closest thing next to a lesional biopsy,” he said.