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Medifacts Systems, Inc. Grants Exclusive License for Genetic Test Patent to Mayo Clinic

CHICAGO, Jan. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Medifacts Systems, Inc. announces that it has granted an exclusive license for a genetic test patent to Mayo Clinic. The patented test detects Alpha Thalassemia mutations and their use as predictors of blood-related disorders. The patent is the invention of Lemuel J. Bowie Ph.D., an African American from Vicksburg, Mississippi who was educated at Xavier University in New Orleans, Howard University, and Johns Hopkins. Through this licensing agreement, Mayo Clinic's reference laboratory, Mayo Medical Laboratories will make the test available to patients worldwide.

Thalassemia is an inherited blood disease particularly prevalent among Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Pacific Islanders, Asian, and African peoples. The genetic defect that causes a reduced rate of synthesis for hemoglobin is believed to provide some protection against malaria in malaria-prone areas. However, it can lead to anemia, which is the characteristic presenting symptom, and other health complications involving the spleen, gall stones, and heart failure. There is no cure for thalassemia and the best treatment available today consists of frequent blood transfusions (every two to three weeks) with iron chelation therapy administered subcutaneously.

The severity of alpha thalassemia is correlated with the number of affected globin loci:

-- If one of the four loci is affected, there is minimal effect.

-- If two of the four loci are affected, the condition is called alpha

thalassemia trait with mild microcytic hypochromic anemia.

-- If three loci are affected, the condition is called Hemoglobin H

disease. Two unstable hemoglobins are present in the blood and both

have a higher affinity for oxygen than normal hemoglobin, resulting in

poor oxygen delivery to tissues. The disease may first be noticed in

childhood or in early adult life, when microcytic hypochromic anemia

and splenomegaly are noted.

-- If all four loci are affected, the fetus cannot live once outside the

uterus and may not survive gestation. This is called hydrops fetalis.

If both parents carry a hemoglobinopathy trait, there is a 25 percent chance with each pregnancy for an affected child. Genetic testing and birth screening are recommended for families that carry a thalassemia trait. Some countries are seeing a large increase of thalassemia patients due to lack of genetic counseling.

About Medifacts Systems

Medifacts Systems is a privately-held corporation located in the Chicago Technology Park in the Illinois Medical District. Medifacts Systems also provides archival computer systems for Medical Examiners, Pathology, Surgery, and institutions with research and/or teaching responsibilities. The system archives medical images including DICOM images, audio and video, and accompanying data.

About Mayo Clinic

Mayo is a private group practice of medicine dedicated to providing diagnosis and treatment of patient illnesses through a systematic focus on individual patient needs. Mayo provides comprehensive hospital and outpatient services at each of its major locations -- Rochester, Minn.; Jacksonville, Fla.; and Scottsdale, Ariz. The Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at Mayo Clinic maintains an active diagnostic test development program. Mayo utilizes these proven diagnostic technologies in the care of its patients and offers them to more than 5,000 health care institutions around the world through Mayo Medical Laboratories. Revenue from Mayo Medical Laboratories is used to support medical education and research at Mayo Clinic.

Visit for additional information.

Contact Person: Cheryl Tyus

Company Name: Medifacts Systems, Inc.

Voice Phone number: (312) 498-6172

Fax Number: (866) 530-8005

Email Address:

Website URL:

SOURCE Medifacts Systems, Inc.
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