TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 10, 2009) - ArcticDx Inc., a molecular diagnostic company with expertise in the design, development and commercialization of validated molecular diagnostic tests, announced today the availability of a test specifically designed to determine one's inherited risk for Age-Related Macular Degeneration ("AMD").
AMD is the leading cause of late onset visual impairment and legal blindness in the western world among people over the age of 50. According to reports from the AMD Alliance International and the Foundation for Fighting Blindness, more people have AMD than breast cancer, prostate cancer, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease combined. Over 15 million people in North America are currently affected by AMD and experts estimate that, as the population ages, the number of those afflicted will double by the year 2020.
AMD is a progressive disease associated with aging that causes damage to the macula - the light-sensitive cells at the center of the retina at the back of the eye. The macula is responsible for our ability to see with enough detail to read, drive, watch television and perform other activities that require focused, straight-ahead vision, as well as providing information that allows us to perceive colors. Once significant vision is lost, it cannot be restored and, if untreated, AMD will ultimately lead to blindness.
Seventy-five to eighty percent of all AMD has been traced to genes inherited from family members. Until recently, there was no opportunity to determine who may carry these genes or be at risk. The test, Macula Risk®, changes that. It was developed by a leading geneticist, Dr. Brent Zanke, (Chairman and Chief Medical Officer of ArcticDx) in collaboration with an international group of independent research scientists. Analytical studies have shown this test to be 100% accurate in identifying the AMD genes.
Macula Risk® is now available as a CLIA-certified laboratory saliva test to anyone who is concerned about a family member or themselves. It is recommended that adults be tested once in their lifetime. Knowing the risk and accessing appropriate care may save the vision of countless individuals who otherwise would not have taken necessary action until it was too late. Individuals with a diagnosed drusen (early AMD) should check with their eye care professional to see if the test is right for them.
Dr. David Chow, a world-renowned retinal specialist practicing at St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto, commented, "Macula Risk® will identify patients at risk so they can be diligently monitored as their disease progresses. Early detection has the potential of significantly improving the final visual outcome of these patients who will develop advanced AMD. The efficacy of treatments like ranibizumab is greater for patients detected earlier with higher baseline visual acuity and smaller lesions."
"Individuals with a family history of AMD may themselves have early signs of the disease and not yet know it," commented Dr. Zanke. "For those with early disease, Macula Risk® will tell them if they are likely to progress to vision loss so they can seek professional support from an eyecare professional."
ArcticDx will introduce the test in Canada through the Company's exclusive Canadian distribution partner, Clarion Medical Technologies of Cambridge, Ontario. In the U.S., ArcticDx Inc. will introduce the testing service directly. The company has engaged a team of US vitreo-retinal medical advisors along with Dr. David Chow, Chairman. They include Dr. Carl Awh (Tennessee Retina), Dr. Tarek Hassan (Associated Retinal Consultants, Michigan), Dr. Phillip Ferrone (Long Island VitreoRetinal Associates, New York), Dr. Pravin Dugel (Retinal Consultants of Arizona) and Dr. Peter Kaiser (Cole Eye Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Ohio).
ArcticDx Inc., is a molecular diagnostic company with expertise in the design, development and commercialization of validated molecular diagnostic tests. The company has acquired commercial rights to genetic variants related to two significant diseases; Age-related Macular Degeneration and Colorectal Carcinoma. The company offers its commercial tests through CLIA certified molecular diagnostic laboratories as laboratory developed tests.
For more information about our company, please visit http://www.arcticdx.com.