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Foundation Venture Capital Group Investment Shows Promise in Diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease Using a Drop of Blood
Date:8/3/2011

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., Aug. 3, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new diagnostic test for Alzheimer's disease (AD)  developed by biotech company Durin Technologies in New Jersey has shown promising results using antibody biomarkers in a drop of blood to identify presence of the disease, according to findings that appear online in PLoS ONE.

The research was made possible through an investment by Foundation Venture Capital Group (FVCG), LLC, a New Jersey Health Foundation affiliate that invests in start-up companies founded by researchers at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.  

"This research is an exciting step in AD diagnosis that seems extremely promising based on preliminary results," said James M. Golubieski, president of Foundation Venture Capital Group. "If, after further study, Dr. Nagele's research bears out, his success could help ease the suffering of millions of people worldwide as they struggle with this devastating illness."

Dr. Robert Nagele, founder of Durin Technologies and a researcher at the New Jersey Institute for Successful Aging at the UMDNJ-School of Osteopathic Medicine in Stratford, NJ, focuses his efforts on the concept that autoantibodies are involved in the degenerative mechanism of AD.

Study results published in PLoS ONE show the test, which uses microarray technology to analyze a small sample of blood, has a diagnostic sensitivity of 96 percent and a specificity of 92.5 percent and may be able to detect the disease even in its earliest stages, years before symptoms such as memory loss, poor judgment or erratic behavior appear.

"There's a dire need for an accurate, relatively non-invasive and inexpensive diagnostic test for AD," explained Dr. Nagele.  "A test that can detect the disease years before symptoms appear would make early intervention possible, a significant breakthrough as pharmaceutical companies are now working feverishly to develop new drugs that can stop or slow the progression of the disease."

As many as 5.3 million Americans, and 35 million people worldwide, are living with Alzheimer's disease, a devastating neurodegenerative illness characterized by memory loss, cognitive decline and widespread destruction of neurons in the brain.  

"Today, there is no definitive diagnosis for AD and no treatment to cure it," said George F. Heinrich, M.D., vice chair and chief executive officer of Foundation Venture Capital Group.  "We are thrilled to have played such an important role in helping to make this discovery possible.  It could represent a huge leap forward in the efforts to thwart this devastating disease."

For more information, contact James M. Golubieski, president of FVCG, at (908) 731-6601 or at jgolubieski@njhf.org.

About Foundation Venture Capital Group
Foundation Venture Capital Group, an affiliate of New Jersey Health Foundation, was founded in 2006 to invest in commercially viable new start-up companies developing technology by faculty at UMDNJ. In addition to Durin Technologies, it has invested in:  

  • Actinobac Biomed Inc., developing a therapeutic agent targeting blood cells for the treatment of hematological malignancies;  the same agent seems to help in the treatment of other autoimmune diseases like psoriasis
  • Affineti Biologics, Inc., advancing research in the development of therapeutic and diagnostic products based on new discoveries in oral biology and dental medicine
  • CellXplore, Inc., engaged in the development of biomarker-based in vitro diagnostic assays for cancer; it has also developed technologies to diagnose mastitis
  • Celvive, Inc., working to develop technology to treat patients with chronic spinal cord injuries with their own adult stem cells
  • Longevica Pharmaceuticals, Inc., developing a chemoprotective agent that may keep normal cells healthy during cancer treatments (FVCG's equity interest in Longevica was sold to Rostock International, LTD, a subsidiary of a Moscow (Russia) based global investment firm)
  • Snowdon Pharmaceuticals, a drug discovery company focused on several major therapeutic areas.


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SOURCE New Jersey Health Foundation
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