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University of Pittsburgh Receives NIH Grant For SmartChip Real-Time PCR System

WaferGen Biosystems has reported that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded a grant to the University of Pittsburgh that includes funding of $350,000 over the grant period for WaferGen's SmartChip Real-Time PCR System.

The company said that the researchers are expected to conduct gene expression research in the areas of advanced lung disease and asthma and will use the SmartChip system as the key platform for high throughput validation.

In one project, the researchers plan to create a genetic, molecular, and quantitative clinical phenotyping data warehouse with bioinformatic tools that empower investigators to make fundamental discoveries in disease pathogenesis, refine diagnostic criteria, and lead to real gains in personalised medicine to address chronic lung disease.

In a second project, they will study the underlying genomics of asthma to determine why some individuals develop disease that is more severe and difficult to treat. The findings are intended to facilitate the development of new therapies especially targeted for severe asthmatics.

In both the projects, WaferGen’s SmartChip technology will be used by investigators from the University of Pittsburgh as the key platform for high throughput PCR validation.

Steven Shapiro, professor and chairman of department of Medicine at University of Pittsburgh, said: “Through these projects, we hope to enable the development of personalized therapies by allowing clinicians to identify individuals at risk of developing chronic lung diseases, diagnosing these conditions at an earlier stage, and identifying novel mechanisms that cause the diseases.

“We will use WaferGen’s SmartChip Real-Time PCR system to discover and validate new biomarkers as part of these personalized medicine projects.”

Alnoor Shivji, chairman and CEO of WaferGen, said: “This additional funding from the NIH to the University of Pittsburgh and their use of the SmartChip Real-Time PCR System in gene expression research projects is encouraging because it shows continued interest in exploring the benefits of our SmartChip platform to advance personalized medicine.”