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Non-Invasive Blood Test Detects Synovial Signatures in Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 23 Nov 2023
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Image: A new study marks the first blood-based detection of synovial signatures (Photo courtesy of 123RF)
Image: A new study marks the first blood-based detection of synovial signatures (Photo courtesy of 123RF)

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a severe chronic inflammatory condition, impacts millions of individuals globally. Patients often have to try multiple therapies from among the 20+ FDA-approved drugs across six categories before finding an effective one. Traditionally, identifying synovial signatures in RA patients required an invasive biopsy. Now, a breakthrough non-invasive blood test offers a more efficient method for patients to discover the most suitable treatment.

Aqtual, Inc. (Hayward, CA, USA) has demonstrated that its pioneering platform is capable of detecting synovial gene expression signatures in RA patients through a simple blood test. The study represents the first instance of identifying synovial signatures via a blood-based method. The research demonstrated the platform's ability to detect synovial transcriptomic signatures in blood plasma, distinguishing RA molecular signatures from other inflammatory disorders.

The technology utilized by Aqtual's platform involves analyzing cell-free DNA (cfDNA) in a single blood sample to measure both epigenetics and transcriptomics. This approach allows for a comprehensive, real-time analysis of the disease and its treatment response, offering an advantage over traditional cfDNA methods. Aqtual recently initiated a proof-of-concept clinical trial to assess the platform's effectiveness in guiding the choice of treatment for RA patients. The study involved 191 participants, including 89 with rheumatoid arthritis, 29 healthy controls, 61 with various inflammatory conditions, and 12 with osteoarthritis. The results from Aqtual's platform showed a 96.1% specificity and 90.8% sensitivity in identifying synovial signatures in RA patients.

"Our goal is to reduce the gap between precision medicine and practical clinical solutions for chronic conditions, starting with RA," said Diana Abdueva, PhD, CEO and founder of Aqtual. "Our test will help guide clinicians in treatment choices, improving patient outcomes and reducing costs. This study is a significant step, and we look forward to further validating our platform."

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