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Aug 12, 2013

Epistem Wins Grant to Develop Point-of-Care HepC Tests

  • Epistem has just received €1.5 million (approximately $1.99 million) in funding over a three-year period by the European Commission's 7th Framework Program as part of a €6.0 million (around $7.97 million) consortium project for the development of point-of-care (PoC) hepatitis C assays. 

    Epistem will develop a number of tests on its hand-held PCR platform Genedrive®, which can provide genotype test results. The assays that Epistem is planning to develop include tests to detect and genotype the hepatitis C virus, develop hepatitis C viral load tests to monitor patient treatments, and ascertain the IL-28b genotype of hepatitis C-infected patients to help select patients who will respond to treatment with pegylated-interferon/ribavirin therapy.

    The PoC-HCV consortium, of which Inserm (Institut Pasteur), Inserm Transfert, Qlucore, and Biosurfit are also members, aims to provide PoC diagnostic and predictive tests that enable tangible improvements in the health and quality of life of chronic hepatitis C patients, while at the same time helping to manage the rising cost of medical treatment. The consortium claims that this approach capitalizes on their collective experience with miniaturized molecular testing, lab-on-a-disk systems, and treatment algorithm design, technologies it believes will permit the development and delivery of the first integrated genetic and protein biomarker tests, applied here to hepatitis C disease.

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MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

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