Blood test for muscle disease IBM

Radboud closes licensing deal with EUROIMMUN based on research results of Department of Biomolecular Chemistry

Blood test for muscle disease IBM to be available quickly

 A simple blood test will become available to diagnose the chronic muscle disease IBM. The German company EUROIMMUN will be integrating a discovery from two researchers from the Radboud University in an already existing test for two other variants of myositis. IBM (Inclusion Body Myositis) is a strongly incapacitating disease that can now only be diagnosed with a muscle biopsy. A treatment for the disease is not yet available. 

Myositis is a chronic progressive autoimmune disease in which inflammation damages the muscle cells, making the muscles weaker. Prof. Dr. Ger Pruijn, head of the Department of Biomolecular Chemistry of the Radboud University: “This disease exists in three variants. Two of the variants can be treated with medication, but the third one, known as IBM (Inclusion Body Myositis) does not respond to that. And the treating physician would like to know quickly which variant he’s dealing with”.


Correct and painless diagnosis

Currently, a muscle biopsy is needed in order to diagnose the disease: a painful and labour intensive method. Fortunately, this will change within the near future. Biochemists Ger Pruijn and Helma Pluk and their colleague neurologist Baziel van Engelen of the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre (RUNMC) discovered antibodies in the blood of patients suffering from IBM. To enable the utilization this knowledge, an exclusive license-agreement was closed with the German company EUROIMMUN. Dr. Wolfgang Schlumberger, member of the executive board: “We already market a multiplex assay for the two variants of myositis. The deal with the Radboud enables us to extend the existing test in order to cover the whole range of myositis, and we are very happy with that”.

Cheaper and faster testing

The blood test will make it easier and cheaper to establish the disease. This prevents uncertainty in patients as well as unnecessary use of medication. Prof. Dr. Baziel van Engelen: “IBM is the most prevalent muscle disease without a genetic cause in people above the age of 45. However, it is not exactly known how many patients suffer from IBM, due to the difficult diagnostic process, where sometimes multiple muscle biopsies are needed. In the meantime, some patients that finally turn out to have IBM receive corticosteroids for many years in vain, with all the accompanying side effects. It is also possible that many elderly people that have muscle weakness are in fact suffering from IBM without this being known”.

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