Toronto, ON – Aug. 9, 2004 – ChondroGene says that its paper entitled “First Comprehensive Mapping of Cartilage Transcripts to the Human Genome” has been published in Genomics. The article is currently available online at http://www.sciencedirect.com and will be published in an upcoming issue of the print journal.
The paper presents the first comprehensive transcriptome-to-genome mapping for human cartilage. ChondroGene says it used functional genomics methods and its unique human cartilage bank to catalogue the estimated 13,000 to 16,000 genes expressed in cartilage tissue that ranged from developing cartilage to normal adult cartilage, to various stages of osteoarthritic cartilage that spanned asymptomatic early stage osteoarthritis (OA) to late stage OA in joint replacement patients. Mapping the cartilage-expressed genes to the human genome revealed a higher level of organization than expected and resulted in the definition of numerous “hotspot” chromosome regions containing clusters of cartilage-expressed genes. ChondroGene applied this information to construct its ChondroChip(TM), a 15,000 element cDNA-based microarray, which the Company developed for use in its osteoarthritis R&D programs.
ChondroGene is currently in the process of using this information to define and develop a blood-based osteoarthritis assay that can be used to detect early stage OA, as well as stage the progression of the disease. This assay is expected to be of use to pharmaceutical companies in their OA drug development programs to help them identify novel drug targets, select patients for clinical trials and monitor the effects of new disease modifying OA drugs. Once new disease modifying OA drugs are developed, the assay will be useful in identifying early-stage, asymptomatic patients for treatment. The company says it expects to have prototype assays available in the second half of 2005.