IQuity to Release 7-Day Blood Diagnostics Test for Multiple Sclerosis in May

IQuity to Release 7-Day Blood Diagnostics Test for Multiple Sclerosis in May

Molecular diagnostics startup IQuity is introducing a pioneering blood test that speeds up multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosis to just seven days. Previously, this process could take up to months or years.

IQuity, based in Nashville, Tennessee, began working on its new IsolateMS blood test in January 2016, after receiving $2 million in seed funding from the National Institutes of Health. The test, to be released this May, has a reported accuracy of 90 percent.

Current testing methods such as magnetic resonance imaging scans take much longer to reach a diagnosis because they rely on measuring the progress of irreversible neurological damage. By contrast, doctors can administer IsolateMS as soon as symptoms appear, before the disease has inflicted any significant damage.

“The 90 percent accuracy rate of IsolateMS should give providers and patients a great deal of confidence in their results,” IQuity CEO Chase Spurlock told Multiple Sclerosis News Today. “This test augments existing clinical practice and eliminates the period of uncertainty that can accompany an MS diagnosis. IsolateMS allows patients and providers to begin discussing next steps immediately.”

Spurlock and IQuity co-founder Thomas Aune developed the test at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The two are  among the first researchers to use machine-learning to investigate the link between gene expression and autoimmune diseases.

IsolateMS works by assessing patients’ RNA levels and gene expression. Previous IQuity’s research showed that autoimmune disease patients exhibit distinct RNA expression patterns in their blood that are different from individuals without the disease, suggesting that these RNA markers could be a way to diagnose autoimmune conditions.

In this case, researchers used machine-learning to create a disease-identifying algorithm by recognizing differentially expressed protein-coding genes and noncoding genes.

IQuity’s suite of algorithms, IQIsolate, works by helping researchers analyze RNA markers extracted from a patient’s blood sample and matching their RNA profiles against healthy and sick patient profiles. This determines if the patient’s gene expression pattern is consistent with a specific disease.

Patrícia holds her PhD in Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases from the Leiden University Medical Center in Leiden, The Netherlands. She has studied Applied Biology at Universidade do Minho and was a postdoctoral research fellow at Instituto de Medicina Molecular in Lisbon, Portugal. Her work has been focused on molecular genetic traits of infectious agents such as viruses and parasites.
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Patrícia holds her PhD in Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases from the Leiden University Medical Center in Leiden, The Netherlands. She has studied Applied Biology at Universidade do Minho and was a postdoctoral research fellow at Instituto de Medicina Molecular in Lisbon, Portugal. Her work has been focused on molecular genetic traits of infectious agents such as viruses and parasites.

12 comments

  1. Joyce says:

    This is an interesting new study, but what will it do for those of us who suffer(ed) in silence for 30+ years because the Doctor did not see the disease (which is a beast to diagnose). I, in no way, blame the doctor(s) for this delayed diagnosis but my question is: how will this test really help if your doctor does not request it?

    • Kathy Gill says:

      Hi Joyce – one of our new team members is a Pinterest fan and sent this to us today. So, I apologize for the long delay in responding. We understand all too well the challenges of diagnosing MS – for both providers and their patients. We hope this test will offer a new tool to help providers achieve a diagnosis sooner and with greater confidence. The IsolateMS test is now available through your physician. We have been reaching out to physicians to share our research and how this test will help so many patients. Our website iquity.com offers a lot of information. Providers can review our research and we are happy to schedule a call or visit to answer questions. You can download a brochure at https://iquity.com/patients-ms and use it as a conversation starter with your provider.

    • Kathy Gill says:

      Hi Stacy – One of our new team members is a Pinterest fan and shared this with us today. I’m sorry for the delayed response. The IsolateMS test is now available through your provider. Our website, iquity.com, has all the information you need to engage your physician. You can even download a brochure a https://iquity.com/patients-ms. We’re also happy to talk with your doctor to answer questions. Hope this helps.

    • Kathy Gill says:

      Hi Jessica – as you can see from other comments we’ve just seen the post on Pinterest. One of our new team members shared this with us today. The IsolateMS test is now available (in most states) through your provider. Our website, iquity.com, has all the information you need to engage your physician. You can even download a brochure a https://iquity.com/patients-ms. We’re also happy to talk with your doctor to answer questions or feel free to reach out at [email protected], and we can get more in-depth with you.

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