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INFLAMMATORY ENZYNE LP-PLA2 PREDICTS RECURRENT STROKE.

diaDexus, Inc., South San Francisco has announced the publication of a study showing that lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 (Lp- PLA2), a cardiovascular-specific inflammatory enzyme associated with unstable plaque, is a strong predictor of recurrent stroke. The report, based on the Northern Manhattan Stroke Study, appears in a recent issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center undertook the study to determine whether levels of two inflammatory markers--C-reactive protein (CRP) and Lp-PLA2--predict stroke recurrence, other vascular events, and death. Approximately 200,000 of the 700,000 strokes that occur in the United States each year are repeat strokes.

The study followed 467 patients, diagnosed as having a first stroke, for about four years. Results showed that those with the highest levels of Lp-PLA2 had an increased risk of recurrent stroke, heart attack, or vascular death, even after adjusting for factors such as age, sex, ethnicity, and history of heart disease. C-reactive protein levels were not associated with the risk of recurrent stroke but provided important information about mortality. Lp-PLA2 was measured using the PLAC test, developed by diaDexus.

"Earlier studies suggested that Lp-PLA2 predicts stroke independently of CRP, but this is the first study to look at the value of measuring Lp-PLA2 after a stroke," said Mitchell Elkind, M.D., Department of Neurology, Columbia University. "Our study provides evidence that this novel marker of vascular inflammation is associated with risk of recurrent stroke and other vascular events after first stroke. Lp-PLA2 most strongly affected the risk of recurrent stroke and combined vascular events, rather than mortality alone. As a result, Lp-PLA2 may provide a more specific marker of the risk associated with vascular disease than CRP."

Richard B. Lanman, M.D., chief medical officer of diaDexus, said that the PLAC test fills an important, unmet clinical need. "Traditionally, the lack of a diagnostic test for stroke risk has made it difficult for healthcare providers trying to decide which patients with borderline hypertension or borderline LDL cholesterol should be targeted for intensive stroke prevention," Lanman said. "This study shows that the PLAC test provides important new diagnostic information to determine who is at very high risk of recurrent stroke, allowing timely, aggressive secondary prevention before a potentially devastating cardiovascular event occurs."

As the population ages, stroke is becoming a more serious and costly problem for patients, healthcare providers, and policy makers. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States and a major cause of severe, long-term disability. Stroke also is expensive--a recent analysis found that strokes will cost the U.S. more than $2.2 trillion over the next 45 years.

Lp-PLA2 is an enzyme that associates in the blood primarily with low-density lipoprotein (LDL, the "bad" cholesterol). Lp-PLA2 is carried to the walls of coronary arteries by LDL, where the enzyme can activate an inflammatory response, promoting atherosclerosis. As a result, Lp-PLA2 serves as a specific indicator of vascular inflammation. Individuals identified as being at high risk for coronary heart disease or stroke based on elevated Lp-PLA2 levels are candidates for proactive preventive measures, such as lifestyle modification and therapeutic intervention.

About diaDexus

diaDexus, Inc., a privately held biotechnology company based in South San Francisco, is focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of clinically valuable, patent-protected diagnostic products. The PLAC test is a blood test cleared for marketing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to aid in the prediction of an individual's risk for coronary heart disease and ischemic stroke, in conjunction with clinical evaluation and patient risk assessment.

For more information, visit http://www.plactest.com or http://www.diaDexus.com or call 650/246-6476.
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Publication:Biotech Business
Date:Dec 1, 2006
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