• NIAID SBIR Grant Awarded to RareCyte for Lyme Disease Application of Technology
    Thursday, August 7, 2014

    Developing A Better Test For Lyme Disease Diagnosis…

    Western Connecticut Health Network Biomedical Research Institute Partnership With RareCyte To Improve Lyme Disease Testing Wins NIAID SBIR Research Grant


    DANBURY, Connecticut – August 6, 2014 - The goal of finding a more effective test to diagnose Lyme disease may be closer to reality with a two-year, $600,000 grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) awarded to RareCyte, Inc. in collaboration with researchers from the Western Connecticut Biomedical Research Institute. Lyme disease, a tick-borne infection caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi, has expanded to an estimated 300,000 US cases per year with many communities calling it a public health imperative. Currently as many as half of those approved tests of immune response are sub-optimal and often give negative results early in the disease causing painful delays in treatment and even misdiagnosis. Better testing will enable earlier detection – and hence better treatment – of Lyme disease.

    Dr. Ramin Ahmadi, Chair, Department of Medical Education and Research shared; “We know that many people suffer the debilitating effects of Lyme disease and it is a priority for us to seek out new pathways to diagnosis and treatment. We are excited by our early findings and grateful to the NIAID for this opportunity to further our research in order to improve testing and restore health to those affected by this terrible disease.”

    The scientists have developed an assay method for direct visualization of the Lyme infection in blood that combines RareCyte’s density-based separation and enrichment technology for rare cells with immunofluorescence microscopy. The assay could have significant impact on the state of current Lyme disease diagnostics.

    Ron Seubert, CEO of RareCyte, Inc stated, “We are extremely pleased with our fruitful collaboration with Dr. Paul Fiedler and his group at the WCHN Biomedical Research Institute.  Development of more sensitive and accurate methods of direct detection of Borrelia burgdorferi for the purpose of diagnosing Lyme disease patients is a high-priority area of interest for NIAID. Dr. Fiedler understood the utility of RareCyte technology when applied to Lyme disease, and the SBIR grant is further recognition of that utility.”

    Dr. Eric Kaldjian, CMO of RareCyte, is the Principal Investigator on the grant.  In a preliminary pilot study, the team, which also includes Dr. Denise McKibben and Donna Guralski at WCHN and Dr. Joshua Nordberg of RareCyte, analyzed blood samples of a small cohort of patients clinically diagnosed with acute Lyme disease using RareCyte technology before, during and after antibiotic treatment. In all patients, B.burgdorferi-positive staining objects were identified in the blood. In some cases the positive staining objects persisted even after antibiotic treatment had been completed. “Based on these preliminary results, we see a potential for monitoring symptomatic patients for response to antibiotic therapy as well.  However, the RareCyte assay for Lyme disease detection requires further development and study before it can be made available for routine clinical use.  The SBIR grant will support that effort,” said Dr. Kaldjian.

    Lyme disease research advocate, Senator Richard Blumenthal states, “The lack of advanced diagnostic technology and adequate information about this pernicious disease means Lyme all too often goes undetected in its victims, ultimately causing lasting and devastating harm. This grant will fund important strides in understanding Lyme disease, helping lead to earlier detection and better treatment of the illness.  The Western Connecticut Biomedical Institute is a trailblazer in this effort.  Their research will further efforts to better understand the effects of this epidemic and the best ways in which we can protect ourselves from it.”

    The research will be supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R43AI113990.


    About Lyme Disease

    Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia-burgdorferi and is transmitted to people via the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash resembling a bulls-eye. If left untreated, the Lyme infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. Some patients complain of lingering symptoms beyond a course of antibiotics. Lyme disease is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings (i.e. bulls-eye-like rash), the possibility of exposure to infected ticks and laboratory testing.

    About Lyme Prevention

    The Lyme Disease Data registry recommends residents be vigilant in practicing the BLAST® prevention methods of Bathing; Looking for ticks; Applying repellant; Spray your yard; and, Treat your pets to prevent tick bites.

    About the Lyme Data Registry

    The Western Connecticut Health Network Lyme Disease Registry is building a comprehensive database of patients with Lyme disease. The Registry is working to understand the big health problems caused by this very small bug. This work is the basis for multidisciplinary research leading to a better understanding of the course of the disease; how people are affected; and the causes of persistent symptoms. The Registry goal is for the research to lead to better testing, diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease.

    The Registry has locations in Danbury, New Milford and Norwalk, CT. For more information on how you can help contact the Western Connecticut Lyme Disease Registry at (203) 739-8383; or at lyme.registry@wchn.org or, via Facebook at facebook.com/lymeregistry.

    For more information about the Western Connecticut Health Network Biomedical Research Institute, visit www.danburyhospital.org/Research-and-Academics/Biomedical-Research-Institute.

  • RareCyte to Present High-Recovery AccuCyteTM CTC Platform at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting in San Diego
    Saturday, April 5, 2014

    Seattle, WA USA, March 25, 2014 -- RareCyte Inc., a Seattle based life science research and diagnostic development company focused on characterizing and isolating rare cells in the blood, announces the presentation of its AccuCyteTM circulating tumor cell (CTC) platform at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).  The 105th Annual Meeting of AACR will be held April 5-9, 2014, in San Diego, California. 

    The presentation, “High-recovery multiplex analysis of circulating tumor cells by density-based enrichment, automated platform immunofluorescence staining, and digital microscopy”, features a study that models CTCs by using cultured cancer cells placed into blood samples.  It demonstrates that the combination of a novel enrichment and cell collection system, automated immunofluorescence staining, and image scanning and analysis yields a recovery of greater than 90% of the CTCs.  In addition, application of the method for the identification and characterization of clinical breast cancer samples is demonstrated.

    President and CEO Ron Seubert says, “We are pleased to present these results at AACR.  Recovery is an important step in identification and single-cell analysis of CTCs.  Combining our enrichment and visualization technology with highly utilized laboratory staining instruments we feel is a valuable workflow solution.”  

    The poster will be presented during the Tumor Biology 30 Poster Session on Tuesday morning, April 8 (Abstract Number 3072).

    About RareCyte, Inc.

    RareCyte is a life science research and diagnostic development company focused on characterizing and isolating rare cells in the blood. RareCyte is dedicated to bringing its innovative technology to the Life Sciences research, drug development, and diagnostic markets providing new tools to answer difficult questions related to cancer, infectious disease and prenatal diagnostics. For more information about RareCyte, visit www.rarecyte.com