Neurotune, a Swiss biopharmaceutical company, announces the launch of its immunoassay, NTCAF ELISA, the world’s first ELISA-based diagnostic assay for sarcopenia.
Sarcopenia is a debilitating muscle disorder frequently affecting the elderly for which there is currently no cure. It is defined as loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength that occurs with advancing age. The current diagnosis of the disease is by dual-emission X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scan, which measures lean body mass (LBM) in combination with functional tests. However this cumbersome technique provides no information on the underlying cause of the loss of LBM. It is estimated that sarcopenia currently affects over 50 million people worldwide and with the aging population this is expected to increase to over 200 million in the next 40 years. Thus, treatment of sarcopenia is recognised as an important unmet medical need by large pharma.
Neurotune has developed a biomarker to identify the subgroup of patients (40%), whose sarcopenia is caused by excessive neurotrypsin activity. The NTCAF ELISA test has initially been developed for research purposes to aid the development of a treatment for the condition and could have potential as a companion diagnostic.
A serum biomarker for sarcopenia is an important opportunity for the research community to use diagnostics to help identify the underlying cause of the condition. The NTCAF ELISA test is also a step towards finding an effective treatment for a significant proportion of those with this debilitating disease.
NTCAF ELISA was developed in collaboration with MicroCoat Biotechnologie, GmbH, and the Eureka-Eurostars program. Neurotune continues to develop the ELISA assay exploring its potential usefulness as a marker of dysfunction of the neurotrypsin/agrin system in several other pathological conditions and its applicability to other body fluids.