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

Thursday, January 31, 2008 General News
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CHICAGO, Jan. 29 Medifacts Systems, Inc. announces that ithas granted an exclusive license for a genetic test patent to Mayo Clinic.The patented test detects Alpha Thalassemia mutations and their use aspredictors of blood-related disorders. The patent is the invention of LemuelJ. Bowie Ph.D., an African American from Vicksburg, Mississippi who waseducated at Xavier University in New Orleans, Howard University, and JohnsHopkins. 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 amongMediterranean, Middle Eastern, Pacific Islanders, Asian, and African peoples.The genetic defect that causes a reduced rate of synthesis for hemoglobin isbelieved to provide some protection against malaria in malaria-prone areas.However, it can lead to anemia, which is the characteristic presentingsymptom, and other health complications involving the spleen, gall stones, andheart failure. There is no cure for thalassemia and the best treatmentavailable today consists of frequent blood transfusions (every two to threeweeks) with iron chelation therapy administered subcutaneously.

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

If both parents carry a hemoglobinopathy trait, there is a 25 percentchance with each pregnancy for an affected child. Genetic testing and birthscreening are recommended for families that carry a thalassemia trait. Somecountries are seeing a large increase of thalassemia patients due to lack ofgenetic counseling.

About Medifacts Systems

Medifacts Systems is a privately-held corporation located in the ChicagoTechnology Park in the Illinois Medical District. Medifacts Systems alsoprovides archival computer systems for Medical Examiners, Pathology, Surgery,and institutions with research and/or teaching responsibilities. The systemarchives medical images including DICOM images, audio and video, andaccompanying data.

About Mayo Clinic

Mayo is a private group practice of medicine dedicated to providingdiagnosis and treatment of patient illnesses through a systematic focus onindividual patient needs. Mayo provides comprehensive hospital and outpatientservices at each of its major locations -- Rochester, Minn.; Jacksonville,Fla.; and Scottsdale, Ariz. The Department of Laboratory Medicine andPathology at Mayo Clinic maintains an active diagnostic test developmentprogram. Mayo utilizes these proven diagnostic technologies in the care ofits patients and offers them to more than 5,000 health care institutionsaround the world through Mayo Medical Laboratories. Revenue from Mayo MedicalLaboratories is used to support medical education and research at Mayo Clinic.

Visit for additional information.-- 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.

SOURCE Medifacts Systems, Inc.

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