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APROGENEX INC. ANNOUNCES COMPLETION OF FIRST PHASE OF CLINICAL TRIAL FOR PRENATAL GENETIC SCREEN

 HOUSTON, Jan. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Aprogenex Inc. (AMEX: APG) today announced that it has completed the first phase of a multiphase clinical trial for its GenSite(TM) prenatal genetic testing assay. This phase of the trial tested a specific GenSite component, a DNA probe which can detect fetal hemoglobin. GenSite actually consists of several DNA probes and is designed to identify fetal cells circulating within a mother's blood and screen for common prenatal genetic birth defects, mitigating the need for risky amniocentesis procedures, according to Joel Bresser, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer.
 "This first phase of the clinical trial tested the ability of a GenSite DNA probe to identify fetal hemoglobin (HbF) mRNA in various cell types," Bresser said. "By determining the presence of fetal HbF mRNA, this DNA probe can be used to differentiate fetal and maternal cells. In a comparison between this probe and commercially available stains that identify fetal hemoglobin, the trial found the GenSite fetal HbF mRNA probe to have a sensitivity of 98.1 percent and a specificity of 97.9 percent. The trial included 1,622 observations from various cell types, including maternal blood, umbilical cord blood and newborn peripheral blood."
 The next phase of the clinical trial will involve further analysis of GenSite's fetal cell separation procedures and testing of several other GenSite DNA probes for the identification and enumeration of chromosomes. Abnormal numbers of certain chromosomes can result in common genetic disorders, such as Down's Syndrome. The clinical trial will continue through the first half of 1994.
 In addition to the results of the first phase of the clinical trial, Aprogenex today released data from preclinical tests of other GenSite components. Specifically, GenSite DNA probes for the identification and enumeration of various chromosomes were tested on samples at four sites, including three independent laboratories. In the 158 samples tested, the DNA probes properly enumerated the number of chromosomes in 100 percent of the samples. Results were confirmed by matching the probe results to karyotyping results on the same amniocentesis samples.
 Aprogenex develops and intends to manufacture and market diagnostic test systems based on its proprietary DNA probe technology to identify the presence or extent of genetic abnormalities and disease. Using a maternal blood sample, the company's GenSite product is designed to identify the rare fetal cells circulating within the mother's blood and to permit the diagnosis of up to 95 percent of prenatal genetic abnormalities, such as Down's Syndrome.
 -0- 1/6/94
 /CONTACT: Joel Bresser, Ph.D., president and CEO, of Aprogenex, 713-748-5114; or Linda Seaton of Keatinge/Seaton Communications, 619-625-2100/
 (APG)


CO: Aprogenex Inc. ST: Texas IN: MTC SU:

JB-JL -- SD006 -- 6998 01/06/94 12:23 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 6, 1994
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