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Adventures in Translational Research: A Model for Bench to Bedside Breakthroughs
CHORI-Based Technology Poised for Widespread Clinical Use through Quest Laboratories

While often the disconnect between scientists' long labors at the laboratory bench and a novel clinical treatment may seem insurmountable, the new Ion Mobility Analysis is a perfect example of how basic research can lead to new innovation in the treatment and prevention of disease. The Ion Mobility Analysis, expected to be widely available through Quest Laboratories by the end of the year, provides detailed measurements of lipoprotein particles, including subtypes of LDL ("bad cholesterol") and HDL ("good cholesterol"), that can improve the assessment of heart disease risk.

By no means an overnight discovery, the Ion Mobility Analysis is built upon many years of research by CHORI Senior Scientist Ronald Krauss, MD, who, with his colleagues at CHORI and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, pioneered the new Ion Mobility Analysis. While Dr. Krauss and his colleagues had been utilizing a variety of techniques with which to measure various types of lipoproteins, none of them had all the necessary ingredients that they were seeking.

"What one would ideally like is a method that can measure all the different types of particles accurately and precisely, but that could also, ultimately, be performed by a clinical lab,"explains Dr. Krauss.

With the Ion Mobility Analysis, first discovered by Dr. Krauss and his colleagues 5 years ago, however, the perfect recipe for success came together. Utilizing a very sophisticated technology that relies on velocity to separate and count lipoproteins by weight and size, the test produces a complete lipoprotein profile based on the direct physical separation of the particles.

"The test produces a profile based on the number of lipoprotein particles in all of the major categories that we feel are important in heart disease risk assessment," Dr. Krauss says.

While standard measurements which provide levels of cholesterol contained in LDL and HDL as a whole,give essential information at relatively low cost, the Ion Mobility Analysis expands upon that data to offer a more complete picture.

"In these individuals, the Ion Mobility Analysis could be used to either refine the risk assessment, or to identify people who would not have been at risk based on their standard numbers."

In addition, the test also provides a basis for monitoring the effectiveness of treatments geared toward the prevention of heart disease.

"While the emphasis in terms of heart disease risk reduction is often on using medication to lower cholesterol," explains Dr. Krauss, "we have found that, depending on an individual's LDL particle profile, they respond differently to diet. Different diets can change an individual's profile to one with greater or lesser heart disease risk, so this test can be quite effective in helping assess the effects of dietary treatment."

What began at the laboratory bench as a search for greater understanding is now poised to become the gold standard in capturing lipoprotein profiles, whether for identifying at-risk
patients, monitoring their treatment, or in continued laboratory research. It also provides a perfect model for translational research.

As Dr. Krauss says, "What you want in translational medicine is to be able to take basic science from the lab that initially may not have a clear clinical application and see where that information might have clinical value."

The ultimate goal, of course, is to then determine how the information could best be translated into something that could be delivered to patients, and could improve the overall health of the population.

"That's really what we're trying to do with research, to bring into practice ways that could improve health on the widest scale possible."

With heart disease the leading cause of death in the United States, and cholesterol measurement providing a key component of any preventative defense, the Ion Mobility Analysis provides just that potential - to improve the prevention and treatment of heart disease on a global scale.

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Monday, May 16, 2011 11:33 PM

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