RadioIQ Interview – Cville Company Develops New COVID Test

RadioIQ Interview – Cville Company Develops New COVID Test

  • June 10, 2020
  • News

Aired June 10, 2020 – Virginia Public Radio’s Sandy Hausman
A Charlottesville biotech company says it’s come up with a test that predicts the most severe cases of COVID-19 and could guide doctors in their choice of medications to save lives.

Scientists at AMPEL Biosolutions had been studying lupus – an auto-immune disease in which the body’s white blood cells cause inflammation of joints and organs.  What they heard about the most serious cases of COVID-19 sounded familiar.

“There are certain white blood cells that normally would fight off the COVID that are out of control and are actually propagating damage to the lungs and other organs,” says Amrie Grammar, AMPEL’s Chief Scientific Officer. “These uncontrolled white blood cells are secreting a variety of inflammatory compounds that are driving the severe symptoms and the lung damage.”

Not everyone who gets COVID suffers that symptom, but those who do may end on a ventilator and many will die.  So AMPEL developed a test that identifies those at greatest risk for serious complications and could guide doctors to use certain medications that would reduce or prevent inflammation of the lungs.  The company hopes it can collaborate with a firm that makes diagnostic kits for the coronavirus, so that doctors can identify patients and plan treatment strategies with just one test.  

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Virginia Based AMPEL BioSolutions’ Technology Predicts Severity Of Illness In COVID19 Patients And Identifies Treatments

Virginia Based AMPEL BioSolutions’ Technology Predicts Severity of Illness in COVID19 Patients and Identifies Treatments

Charlottesville, Virginia. June 9, 2020. AMPEL BioSolutions announces genomic analysis and findings that could improve treatment of COVID19 patients with approved drugs such as Embrel and Stelara. Published on bioRxiv as a preprint, the study reveals a gene-based test that will be able to determine those patients who may progress to severe illness with increased likelihood of morbidity. In addition, AMPEL’s CovGENE approach identifies FDA-approved drugs that may be appropriately repositioned to interfere with mechanisms that cause lung damage in severe COVID19 patients. The paper describes gene expression measured in three body compartments (lung, airway and blood) and integrates information from the blood and lung for a “whole body” understanding of the effects of SARS-CoV2 virus.

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Machine Learning, After Fine-tuning, May Be Useful for SLE Classification, Study Suggests

  • January 20, 2020
  • News

Machine Learning, After Fine-tuning, May Be Useful for SLE Classification, Study Suggests

Lupus News Today
By Marisa Wexler, MS
July 12, 2019

Machine learning analysis strategies can help predict disease status in people with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), a study shows. Still, technical variability inherent to each clinical analysis method can represent a roadblock in this process.

Fine-tuning of machine learning algorithms and parameter sets may help reduced technical “noise” caused by such variability, the researchers suggest. They said this would generate “sufficient accuracy to be informative as a standalone estimate of disease activity.”

Titled “Machine learning approaches to predict lupus disease activity from gene expression data,” the study was published in Nature Scientific Reports

Diagnosing and classifying SLE is a challenge for clinicians because the disease is so varied in how it presents. One proposed way to classify this type of lupus is based on gene expression levels, which evaluate which genes are “turned on” and by how much.

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Biotech Showcase at JP Morgan Healthcare

To view the full presentation from the Biotech Showcase, click here. To view the full press release, click here. To watch the interview with Dr. Amrie Grammer, click here.

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 17, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — AMPEL BioSolutions’ Co-Founder and COO/CSO Dr. Amrie Grammer today at the Biotech Showcase at JP Morgan Healthcare announces the kickoff to commercialize LuGENETM, a gene-based diagnostic.  AMPEL’s initial focus is Lupus, but the test can be used for many autoimmune or inflammatory diseases.  AMPEL’S goal is to have its test available for routine use by physicians within the next few years.

LuGENETM is a breakthrough in precision and personalized medicine that could revolutionize the way doctors treat chronic diseases, like Lupus.  The lab test, only a concept for the last few years, is now ready for commercialization for practical decision support for precise drug treatment based on a patient’s genes.  LuGENETM will transform the way doctors treat chronic diseases by using the information gathered by the lab test and analyzed by machine learning to predict a flare and treat it before it even begins, saving patients from pain and inconvenience of a disease that otherwise drastically affects their lives.

“Predicting lupus disease flares, allowing initiation or modification of disease-modifying therapies, should have an important impact on patient health,” stated Mary K. Crow, MD the Physician-in-Chief, Hospital for Special Surgery, Weill Cornell Medical Center and Former President American College of Rheumatology. “LuGENE seems to be an important step in that direction.  Application of knowledge of molecular mechanisms to aid in patient management is the future of lupus care and will benefit patients and improve outcomes.”

AMPEL’s innovative gene-based approach has been reported in top tier peer-reviewed journals and utilizes proprietary bioinformatic tools and machine learning approaches.  LuGENETM is now ready to be developed as a decision support CLIA-certified blood test that will greatly impact health care by allowing physicians to identify the cause of patient disease symptoms and select appropriate treatment precisely.

“Unpredictable flares can be a daily battle for many patients with lupus and other autoimmune conditions,” says Deidre Baptista and Kirsten Maeda, “GEE Twins for Lupus”, Lupus Foundation of Northern California (LFNC) Board Members. “From personal experience, we know flares come and go without warning and make it challenging for patients.  AMPEL’s promising breakthrough of their LuGENETM diagnostic is the news patients have desperately been waiting to hear. We applaud AMPEL BioSolutions’s goal to help identify patients’ disease activity in real time. The future of precision personalized medicine is getting closer with big data, technology, and genomic testing.  It will certainly be a win-win not only for the patients but also the autoimmunity community. It’s about time that advances will improve patient outcomes, reduce organ damage and save lives. Patients can’t wait another 60 years for new treatment.”

Currently, AMPEL uses its’ proprietary approach to assist Pharma in patient enrichment during clinical trial enrollment, thus maximizing success by enrolling patients into trials that express the drug-targeted pathway.  Pharmaceutical companies test drugs in clinical trials and face the challenge of enrolling patients that have the best potential to respond to the treatment being tested.  Enrolling the “wrong” patients can result in trial failure, often leading to cancellation of a drug’s development towards FDA approval that may have benefit in a sub-group of the overall patient population. AMPEL’s blood test will help pharmaceutical companies identify which patients are most likely to respond to the tested treatment.

“Lupus care will greatly benefit from more precise evaluation of patients.  LuGENE seems to be an important step in that direction.  Patients would greatly benefit from a better way to relate their symptoms to immune abnormalities.” Daniel J Wallace MD FACP, MACR, Professor of Medicine, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center David Geffen School of Medicine Center at UCLA in affiliation with AttuneHealth.

To view the full presentation from the Biotech Showcase, click here.

To view the full press release, click here.

To watch the interview with Dr. Amrie Grammer, click here.

Multiple Interferons, Including IFNB1, May Play a Role in SLE

  • August 19, 2019
  • News

Multiple Interferons, Including IFNB1, May Play a Role in SLE

The Rheumatologist article by Carina Stanton (August 14, 2019)

Through gene analysis, researchers have found different types of interferons in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) tissues and cells, such as skin and synovium. The analysis, which probed 2,000 gene expression datasets from SLE patients, specifically investigated modules of genes derived from the downstream interferon gene signature. It found enriched downstream interferon signatures that were predominately from IFNB1. These interferon signatures were higher when compared with the expression of downstream interferon signatures in kidneys with lupus nephritis, according to the study, published April 23 in Nature Communications Biology.1

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