Clinical OMICS

JAN-FEB 2018

Healthcare magazine for research scientists, labs, pathologists, hospitals, cancer centers, physicians and biopharma companies providing news articles, expert interviews and videos about molecular diagnostics in precision medicine

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www.clinicalomics.com January/February 2018 Clinical OMICs 25 Rise of the Machines IQuity Targets Autoimmune Diagnosis Using Transcriptomics Data Biotechnology company IQuity, found- ed by Chase Spurlock, Ph.D. and Thom- as M. Aune, Ph.D., is focusing its efforts on developing fast and effective diag- nostic tests for different autoimmune conditions. In contrast to the weeks to months it can typically take to diag- nose an autoimmune disease, IQuity can obtain results within a week at an accuracy of more than 90%. The company's first two tests, for multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel disease/irritable bowel disease, launched earlier this year. Another test able to differentiate fibromyalgia from rheumatoid arthritis or lupus will be launched soon. "Work that began at Vanderbilt Uni- versity, here in Nashville, asked the question 'could RNA signatures or gene expression signatures in blood tell the story about a patient's disease?'," IQui- ty's CEO Spurlock explained. "What we found is that autoimmune diseases exhibit a very distinct pattern of RNA levels in blood." The tests developed by IQuity ana- lyze long noncoding (lncRNA) profiles in blood and distinguish a distinct pat- tern associated with each disease. At the heart of how that analysis is per- formed is something called machine learning. "The differences in expression of the lncRNAs across the patient populations that we see is incredibly robust, and the differences there actually enhance our machine learning capabilities to iden- tify disease versus nondisease," added Spurlock. "I think that what we have here is a platform technology that can be applied to many different diseases." He explained that the company is in- vestigating the possibility of develop- ing a test to determine who responds or does not respond to a particular therapy over time. Looking to the future, Spurlock ex- plained that the company is looking at the combination of genomics with healthcare claims data to capture in- sights that they may not be able to de- tect at the level of RNA. He added: "To even further refine some of these calls, I think that we're trying to look at as much data as we can get our hands on. I think it's go- ing to yield major insights into how we treat disease and how the diversi- ty of patients that present in the clinic might respond differently to therapies that we have traditionally consid- ered first, second, third, or fourth line." — Helen Albert n IQuity's autoimmune tests analyze lncRNA profiles in blood. Wvihrev / Getty Images

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