Arizona Patent of the Month – February 2021

Extraction, storage, or purification of a biological sample requires appropriate care to make sure the structural integrity is maintained. After extraction, the sample might be used for numerous analyses or applications. The success of these analyses depends on the success in maintaining integral structure and function. Extraction of RNA can help to build a biomarker profile. Analysis of extracellular miRNAs in circulation can be used to identify diseases or conditions. Numerous biosamples taken over the course of treatment could help to identify the efficacy of the treatment. Typically, these samples are collected from the spinal column, plenty of urine samples, and other collection regimens. The Translational Genomics Research Institute (Tgen) decided to work on designing a methodology for identifying a biomarker profile from a small sample of blood. This sample could be taken from a finger prick, rather than the spinal column.

The methodology includes the collection of a biofluid sample where nucleic acids (e.g. miRNA) are extracted from. The extracted nucleic acids are then sequenced and analyzed. The sequence analysis involves a two-step process to create the final biomarker profile. This methodology is repeated at different time intervals depending on the disease or condition being analyzed, and the treatment process. The two step process determines the coefficient of variance for an RNA transcript in the sample and reference sample. If the reference variance is smaller than the sample variance, the RNA transcript is removed from the profile. This method ensures only the relevant pieces are included in the biomarker profile.

TGen’s method is much more commercially viable as it is capable of building a biomarker profile using small samples like a couple drops of blood. Their methodology is not limited to a single extraction method, but is left up to the discretion of the user based on the downstream analyses to be completed. TGen believes improving methodologies will lead to earlier detection and smarter treatments.

About TGen

The Translational Genomics Research Institute, is a non-profit genomics research institute based in Arizona, United States. TGen seeks to employ genetic discoveries to improve disease outcomes by developing smarter diagnostics and targeted therapeutics. TGen conducts research on a number of human disorders including Alzheimer’s disease, Autism, Parkinson’s, Diabetes and numerous forms of cancer and a variety of other complex human diseases. 

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