ST. LOUIS, Oct. 16, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Sigma-Aldrich® Corporation (Nasdaq: SIAL) today announced that Sigma Advanced Genetic Engineering (SAGE) Labs, an initiative of Sigma® Life Science, and Ekam Imaging, Inc. have partnered to develop a suite of preclinical services based on the advanced translational power of genetically engineered rat models from SAGE Labs and Ekam's expertise in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) technology. For more information on SAGE Labs, visit www.sageresearchmodels.com.
Unlike the fMRI studies currently performed in drug development that require anesthetized, unconscious animals, Ekam Imaging's fMRI translational technology produces detailed maps of a conscious animal's brain activity, a state that much better represents the human condition.
"The rat models created by SAGE Labs have been genetically modified to reflect patient-relevant mutations and exhibit highly relevant, robust phenotypes. The combination of these rats with Ekam's imaging platform presents a transformative opportunity for translational neuroscience programs. Ultimately, these types of studies will lead to better drugs targeting neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases," said Edward Weinstein, Ph.D., Director of SAGE Labs.
"Probing the brain functions of a conscious animal, specifically in rats which are prized by the neuroscience community for intelligence and complex social behaviors, produces data that is much more representative of a potential therapy's effects on human processes," said Mark Nedelman, MS, MBA, President and CEO of Ekam Imaging.
Nedelman's company is currently producing a detailed map of neural activity in SAGE Lab's Pink1 gene knockout rat, which SAGE Labs generated for The Michael J. Fox Foundation to model Parkinson's disease. The Pink1 gene knockout rat exhibits delayed-onset motor deficits, a key phenotype of Parkinson's disease in humans.
Sigma and Ekam plan to publicly launch services specific to SAGE Labs' neuroscience rat models in early 2013.
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About Sigma Life Science: Sigma Life Science is a Sigma-Aldrich business that represents the Company's leadership in innovative biological products and services for the global life science market and offers an array of biologically-rich products and reagents that researchers use in scientific investigation. Product areas include biomolecules, genomics and functional genomics, cells and cell-based assays, transgenics, protein assays, stem cell research, epigenetics and custom services/oligonucleotides. Sigma Life Science also provides an extensive range critical bioessentials like biochemicals, antibiotics, buffers, carbohydrates, enzymes, forensic tools, hematology and histology, nucleotides, amino acids and their derivatives, and cell culture media.
About Sigma-Aldrich: Sigma-Aldrich is a leading Life Science and High Technology company whose biochemical, organic chemical products, kits and services are used in scientific research, including genomic and proteomic research, biotechnology, pharmaceutical development, the diagnosis of disease and as key components in pharmaceutical, diagnostics and high technology manufacturing. Sigma-Aldrich customers include more than 1.3 million scientists and technologists in life science companies, university and government institutions, hospitals and industry. The Company operates in 38 countries and has nearly 9,100 employees whose objective is to provide excellent service worldwide. Sigma-Aldrich is committed to accelerating customer success through innovation and leadership in Life Science and High Technology. For more information about Sigma-Aldrich, please visit its website at www.sigma-aldrich.com.
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