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GEN News Highlights : Aug 28, 2007

Researchers Discover Biomarker for PAD

Elevated levels of beta-2 microglobulin are associated with increased severity of the disease.

Vermillion and Stanford University published research showing that elevated levels of a protein biomarker called beta-2 microglobulin are correlated to the severity of peripheral artery disease (PAD). Scientists at Vermillion and Stanford intend to develop a blood test for the diagnosis of PAD.

Over 370 patients at risk of PAD were studied using questionnaires, blood tests, treadmill exercise, limb blood pressures, and coronary angiography. Blood profiling revealed a protein that was higher in patients with PAD. In subsequent experiments, the protein was identified as beta-2 microglobulin.

Beta-2 microglobulin levels were correlated with the severity of disease, as determined by ankle blood pressures and by the distance patients could walk on a treadmill, according to Vermillion. The protein was an independent predictor, even after taking into consideration traditional risk factors such as cholesterol, diabetes, and age, reported the team.

As part of a strategic alliance, Vermillion and Quest Diagnostics are working together to expedite development and release of the PAD test.

The study will be published during September in Circulation and is currently online.