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Micropharma completes development of first microbiome clinical lab test using digital PCR technology
Date:10/23/2013

MONTREAL, Oct. 23, 2013 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Micropharma Limited, a pioneer in the development of microbiome based technologies announced today the completed development of a new lab test to quantify bile salt hydrolase (bsh) gene abundance in gut-derived samples. bsh is a bacterial gene that produces an enzyme that is active in the human GI tract and modifies the bile acid population to provide a number of health benefits to the host organism. Scientific reports have recently shown that individuals with inflammatory and metabolic ailments including inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, hypercholesterolemia and type II diabetes present low quantities of bsh gene in their gastrointestinal microbiome. Microbiome SenseIT bsh, the lab test, will serve to provide health care practitioners and patient with additional information regarding the abundance of the gene. SenseIT bsh is the first of its kind to use Bio-Rad droplet digital PCR technology which allows for absolute quantification of gene copies with accuracies of 95%.

Using bioinformatics tools, researchers at Micropharma identified the genetic sequences of the bsh genes present in the gut to develop Microbiome SenseIT bsh. The test was validated using metagenomic sequencing and qPCR technologies. Currently, the gene quantification is done by sequencing DNA extracted from gut-derived samples followed by a computer-intense bioinformatics analysis which is time consuming and costly. Microbiome SenseIT bsh can produce results within a few hours at a fraction of the cost of sequencing. The test consists of producing approximately 20000 nanoliter-volume droplets, which are filled with a diluted DNA sample. After droplet generation, PCR amplification follows using gene specific primers and fluorescently-labeled probes, so that the droplets containing the bsh gene become fluorescent. Finally, bsh pos
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