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Biolog’s Phenotype MicroArray Technology Unlocks Critical Clue in Understanding Autism
Date:6/5/2013

ry Phenotype MicroArray (PM) technology, Dr. Schwartz and Luigi Boccuto, M.D., Staff Scientist at Greenwood Genetic Center, measured metabolic pathway activities in transformed blood cells sampled from diverse populations and found that decreased metabolism of L-tryptophan was present in 100 percent of samples from patients with confirmed diagnosis of ASDs. L-tryptophan is an amino acid that is converted to form many important neurochemicals including serotonin, kynurenine, kynurenic acid, and quinolinic acid. These neurochemicals have potent effects on developing brains and an alteration in their production provides a hypothesis that could explain autism and lead to a treatment or an approach to prevention. In the shorter term, it may provide the basis for a blood test that could offer an early screening of ASDs.

“We are thrilled that Biolog’s PM technology helped Dr. Schwartz in this pioneering research and that it has led to this breakthrough discovery,” said Barry Bochner, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer at Biolog, Inc. (Hayward, CA). “PM technology provides high throughput phenotyping and metabolic scanning of cells, making it a powerful complement or alternative to genotyping studies. PM technology has great, untapped potential to enable additional breakthrough discoveries with other human disorders. Research laboratories are just beginning to adopt PM technology for research in diseases like diabetes, obesity and cancer.”

“This success with ASDs suggests that Biolog's metabolic scanning technology may provide an invaluable technology for understanding the basis of other human disorders. We already have intriguing initial data on metabolic alterations with some other non-ASD neurological conditions such as somatic overgrowth and intellectual disability,” added Dr. Boccuto.

About the Study

This study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and the South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs.
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