New DNA microarray to speed bone disease research

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Velcura Therapeutics has announced the development of a custom Affymetrix GeneChip(R) array that aids the development of bone disease therapies by enabling researchers to follow global changes in gene expression during human bone formation.

Velcura worked with Affymetrix, the world leader in DNA microarray technologies, to design and produce the custom array using Affymetrix' CustomExpress(TM) Array Program. This custom GeneChip array, which Velcura hopes will help speed research to help fight osteoporosis and other bone diseases, is available only to Velcura Therapeutics for use within the company for its own studies or that of its strategic partners.

DNA microarrays allow the human genome to be rapidly and consistently queried for changes in gene expression or variations in gene sequence. Approximately 1,500 genes were included on the chip. The custom GeneChip array included genes that Velcura Therapeutics' scientists discovered as well as another 250 genes that were reported in the scientific literature as bone- related.

Affymetrix' CustomExpress Array Program enables researchers to quickly design reproducible, affordable GeneChip expression arrays specific to their needs. Customers can mix and match content from Affymetrix' commercially available GeneChip expression arrays or let Affymetrix help them with probe selection to create arrays featuring their unique target sequences. CustomExpress Arrays are available in a variety of formats to accommodate content requirements, ranging from 520 to over 61,000 sequences per array.

The President and CEO of Velcura Therapeutics, Michael W. Long, Ph.D., explained, "The Affymetrix technology allows for rapid target identification and drug optimization at the level of the gene. This new custom GeneChip array greatly accelerates these processes by reducing the analysis of the 30- thousand or so genes in the human genome to those genes most involved in human bone formation."

Daniel Chagnovich, Ph.D. led the team of Velcura scientists that identified gene changes by examining gene-expression across the entire complement of human genes, in multiple individuals, under a variety of experimental conditions.

"The resultant data set contained more than 65 million entries," said Dr. Chagnovich. "We employed bioinformatic tools and statistical methods to analyze these data and come up with the set of genes that are differentially modified during bone formation."

Lianne McLean, director of Marketing at Affymetrix, said, "We are pleased Velcura Therapeutics chose to create a new custom GeneChip array to help it and its partners to further research into new methods for treating osteoporosis and other bone diseases that are expected to affect more than 200 million men and women during the next two decades."


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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