DNA chip used in prognosis

Monday, 15 January, 2007

A project led by IDIBAPS-Hospital Clinic aims to validate the IBDchip (Inflammatory Bowel Disease DNA Chip), a DNA chip that claims to be the world''s first diagnostic DNA chip.

The chip has the main purpose of predicting prognosis and response to therapy of patients suffering from inflammatory bowel disease.

The chip is a simple device requiring only a small blood sample. After a blood sample is taken from the patient it is placed on a small glass slide (the chip) and read by laser technology.

The laser has the ability to read DNA code contained in the blood and can detect up to 61 mutations in the DNA.

The technology underlying the IBDchip was presented in Biscal and the statistical analysis of the first Spanish IBDchip study aiming to predict the clinical course of Spanish intestinal bowel disease patients is now being conducted.

This work, led by Dr Miquel Sans, researcher of the IDIBAPS Physiopathology of Gastrointestinal Lesions Group and member of the Gastroenterology Facility of Hospital Clinic de Barcelona, includes more than 900 patients divided into two groups. The first group will define a series of prediction models (one for each clinical event) and the second will serve as an independent indicator allowing checking of the prediction model''s real usefulness.

One of the first aims of the IBDchip project is to identify new genetic factors with potential interest regarding intestinal bowel disease. The IBDchip''s version that will be used in such studies is likely to include more than 200 genetic factors instead of the 61 of the first-phase IBDchip.

Once this new version is available, the project will conduct several retrospective and prospective studies with two specific purposes.

Other purposes of this project are the optimisation of technological processes to reduce the speed, size and costs for the laser system, the study of a potential clinical routine application of the IBDchip, the analysis of legal and ethical aspects of this tool and its cost-efficiency.

A consortium, coordinated by Dr Sans, has been created for the project. It includes seven leading European centres in inflammatory diseases and genetics an enterprise with the technology for manufacturing the chip and a leading enterprise in laser technology, in charge of optimising the reading of the chips.

The IBDchip project has a 2.5 million Euro budget for the next three years for conducting several studies including a total of 3000-4000 patients in seven European countries.

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