Neurofilament light chain (NfL) proves to be a transformative biomarker for understanding wide range of neurological conditions and advancing clinical trials
Lexington, Mass. August 6, 2018: Quanterix Corporation (NASDAQ: QTRX), a company digitizing biomarker analysis to advance the science of precision health, today announced its ultra-sensitive Simoa technology is making it possible for researchers to uncover significant novel applications for the brain biomarker neurofilament light chain (NfL) to advance the early detection, treatment and prevention of neurological diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS); Parkinson disease; Alzheimer disease; brain cancer; and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).
“NfL is rapidly emerging as a critical biomarker providing novel insights into an incredibly wide range of applications, and its potential to impact healthcare is staggering,” said Kevin Hrusovsky, CEO, President and Chairman of Quanterix and Founder of Powering Precision Health. “Using Simoa, researchers are now, for the first time, able to measure NfL in blood, vastly expanding the number and breadth of studies possible and providing insights into disease progression, patient response and drug performance, and accelerating drug development that was never possible before.”
Research powered by Simoa continues to prove NfL as a critical biomarker for the transformation of precision health. Specific applications include, but are not limited to:
- NfL as a biomarker for the diagnosis of minor head injuries (Journal of Neurosurgery)
- NfL as a dynamic biomarker of brain atrophy in Huntington disease (Neurology)
- NfL as a promising noninvasive biomarker for Alzheimer disease (JAMA Neurology)
- NfL as a sensitive and clinically meaningful blood biomarker to monitor MS and effective therapies for the disease (Annals of Neurology)
- NfL as a biomarker to distinguish between Parkinson disease and atypical parkinsonian disorders (APD) with unprecedented accuracy (Neurology)
- NfL as a reliable biomarker for the diagnosis of concussions, specifically in contact sports (Journal of Neurotrauma)
- NfL as a biomarker of brain cancer (brain metastases and glioma activity) presented at ASCO
“NfL is quickly emerging as one of the most relevant biomarkers in neurology,” said Dr. Henrik Zetterberg, Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. “For years its power as a blood test eluded the scientific community, as we lacked the sensitivity necessary to truly see its impact. Today, however, we’re able to detect and quantify the biomarker, and are learning about new potentially groundbreaking applications nearly every day.”
Blood measurements of NfL have recently become a hot topic for the monitoring and development of MS drugs, as further outlined in two recently published papers in the journal Brain. The first paper presents data that confirms serum NfL levels are higher in patients with MS as compared to healthy controls, and that higher NfL levels were an independent predictor of worsening disability the following year. Further, the higher the serum NfL levels, the more pronounced future brain and spinal cord volume loss on MRIs were.
Simoa has also demonstrated the potential of NfL as a viable biomarker for improving the drug development process and for advancing clinical trials that are testing treatments to cure MS and other diseases. Currently, clinical trials rely heavily on MRIs as a clinical endpoint measurement of drug efficacy. Unfortunately, MRIs are not very sensitive or accurate. The second article lays out the widely used clinical criteria for a new biomarker to be considered a surrogate endpoint, which would enable pharmaceutical researchers to monitor changes to the disease shortly after administering a drug to more quickly see its impact.
“When we look at MS for example, there are approximately 2.5 million patients living with the disease. These patients average about 1.5 scans per person, per year. These scans, however, measure brain atrophy, which is a very late stage measurement of the disease, usually not seen until after the disease has ravaged the body and when it’s much less treatable,” continued Hrusovsky. “Biomarkers like NfL can change the practice of medicine, enabling us to catch diseases earlier, identify impactful treatment methods faster, and check to ensure a drug is having the desired impact.”
To learn more about Quanterix’ NfL assay, click here.
Quanterix is a company that’s digitizing biomarker analysis with the goal of advancing the science of precision health. The company’s digital health solution, Simoa, has the potential to change the way in which healthcare is provided today by giving researchers the ability to closely examine the continuum from health to disease through ultrasensitive detection of biomarkers and to accelerate drug development and approval. Quanterix’ technology is designed to enable much earlier disease detection, better prognoses and enhanced treatment methods to improve the quality of life and longevity of the population for generations to come. The technology is currently being used for research applications in several therapeutic areas, including oncology, neurology, cardiology, immunology and infectious disease. The company was established in 2007 and is located in Lexington, Massachusetts. For additional Information, please visit https://www.quanterix.com.
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Lindsay Poole, 617-502-4300