Biochip for detection of inflammatory bowel disease

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At the III International Symposium on Advanced Therapy for Chronic Inflammatory Bowel Disease, held in Madrid, the biotechnological company, Progenika, presented a DNA-chip the purpose of which is the optimisation of the diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of patients with inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and Ulcerous Colitis).

The project developing the biochip, known as the IBDChip, was carried out with the collaboration of Dr. Miquel Sans of the Gastroenterology Service at the Barcelona Hospital Clínico and Dr. Carlos Cara of UCB Pharma. The biochip is currently analysing 46 mutations related to inflammatory bowel disease (EII) and will shortly begin clinical trials.

The polymorphisms analysed are diverse and enable the establishment of the risk of suffering from the disease, its prognosis and the response of the patient to the pharmacological treatment.

From a clinical practice viewpoint the implantation of the IBDchip has a twin usefulness: it enables the selection of the most suitable therapy for each patient and it also determines, in those family members of EII sufferers who wish to be tested, the degree of predisposition for developing the infirmity.

Inflammatory bowel disease (EII) includes Crohn’s Disease (CD) and Ulcerous Colitis (UC), disorders of particular importance in gastroenterology both amongst children and adults. The evidence for a genetic origin to the illness is a fact. Between 10 and 20 per cent of family members of CD and UC patients, also have these diseases. The IBDchip is an open tool which to date includes the polymorphisms associated in the literature with the disease, the predisposition to the disease nd its evolution. As new mutations are identified, these can be easily incorporated into the IBDchip for their analysis.

Progenika, a biotechnology company of the Basque Country, pioneer in this field in Spain, has already developed other, similar products. An example is the Lipochip developed for the Lácer pharmaceutical company and which diagnoses family hypercholesterolemia. The Lipochip was the first biochip to obtain European Commission certificate for its diagnostic use.

The Bloodchip, a biochip for genotyping blood donors, is another example. This biochip has recently started clinical trials in Spain, Germany, the UK, Holland and the Czech Republic using more than 4,000 donors.

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