Mayo Clinic Laboratories and German diagnostics developer Numares will partner to develop clinical diagnostic tests designed to measure clusters of risk factors rather than individual biomarkers, through a collaboration whose value was not disclosed.

The diagnostics to be developed will target specific diseases that include cardiovascular disease, kidney disease and liver, the partners said.

Mayo Clinic Labs and Numares will apply nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) technology in order to accurately and precisely quantify metabolites, with the goal of finding meaningful combinations of biomarkers and thus improving the odds of providing clinically actionable data for conditions where a single useful biomarker does not exist.

Numares uses artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze data from clinical studies and machine learning, with the aim of distinguishing which metabolite constellations are meaningful, then modeling mathematical equations for the interpretation of the biomarker sets.

The company distinguishes meaningful clusters of risk factors based on clinical diagnostic tests performed on patient samples such as blood or urine. The German diagnostics developer refers to these risk-factor clusters as “constellations” that are capable of monitoring a patient’s overall health in order to help diagnose, treat or prevent diseases. then model mathematical equations for interpreting the biomarker sets.

“Our unique approach is similar to finding constellations in the sky. The medical information is not so much about the brightness and color of each individual star as it is about the position of each star in relation to the others,” Numares CEO Volker Pfahlert, PhD, said in a statement.

“We hope to exchange knowledge and investigate these new diagnostic paths to improve patient lives by leveraging NMR spectroscopy to quantify patient metabolites and diagnose certain conditions,” Dr. Pfahlert added.

Numares has brought to market the first commercially-available and CE-marked test using metabolic constellations, AXINON renalTX-Score-U100. The test is designed to help physicians identify kidney transplant recipients at risk of transplant rejection, based on a constellation of metabolites measured in the patient’s urine.

Numares’ AXINON system uses NMR spectroscopy to create a spectrum standardized by Magnetic Group Signaling (MGS) to evaluate metabolic constellations.

The company added that it has efforts underway to explore metabolite constellations for the diagnosis of bladder cancer, the early detection of liver cancer, and a more accurate noninvasive measurement of kidney function.

Mayo Clinic Laboratories, the global reference laboratory of Mayo Clinic, provides advanced laboratory testing and pathology services to support 4,000 health care organizations worldwide.

“The approach of identifying ‘constellations’ of metabolites for diagnostics will play an important role in the future of precision medicine,” stated Allan Jaffe, MD, division chair for Clinical Core Laboratory Services in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at Mayo Clinic. “Collaborating with Numares, we want to convert the diagnostic capability of these metabolic constellations into clinical tests that will help patients who have undiagnosed diseases.”

The first test using Numares’ technology to be offered by Mayo Clinic Laboratories will measure lipoproteins.

“Low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, cholesterol, the notorious ‘bad’ cholesterol associated with heart disease, is contained within LDL particles which are a better indicator of risk,” said Jeffrey Meeusen, PhD, co-director of Cardiovascular Laboratory Medicine at Mayo Clinic. “The Numares lipoprotein method measures both LDL cholesterol and LDL particles.”

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