Ignyta and UC San Diego Researchers Find that Permanent Epigenetic
Alterations Are Associated with Immune Function in Rheumatoid Arthritis
SAN DIEGO -- May 6, 2013
Scientists from Ignyta, Inc., the personalized medicine company dedicated to
improving the diagnosis and treatment of patients with rheumatoid arthritis,
lupus and other autoimmune diseases, along with scientists from the University
of California, San Diego School of Medicine, led by Gary S. Firestein, M.D.,
have published new findings about the immune function in rheumatoid arthritis.
Their findings are published online in the April 2013 issue of the journal
Genome Medicine (http://bit.ly/10tSY36).
The study, “An Imprinted Rheumatoid Arthritis Methylome Signature Reflects
Pathogenic Phenotype,” demonstrates that the promoter regions of certain key
genes are differentially methylated in the fibroblast like synoviocytes (FLS)
of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients when compared to osteoarthritis patients
and to healthy control subjects. These differentially methylated genes (DMG)
mapped to biological pathways involved with immune functions implicated in
autoimmune disease. The pathway analysis could be used to identify novel
therapeutic targets to treat diseases like RA. Importantly, the differential
methylation patterns found in the FLS of RA patients were stable for at least
seven cell passages, demonstrating that these epigenetic changes are durable.
“Ignyta’s and our collaborators’ work in this field may be useful not only to
discover biomarkers that help diagnose autoimmune disease, but also to help
understand and explain the underlying pathophysiology that contributes to
disease,” said Jonathan Lim, M.D., chairman and CEO of Ignyta. “We appreciate
our collaboration with Dr. Firestein and his lifelong devotion to elucidating
the biology of rheumatoid arthritis.”
Contributors to the study include John Whitaker, Wei Wang, and David Boyle, UC
San Diego; Robert Shoemaker and David Anderson, Ignyta, Inc.
This project was supported in part by grants from the Rheumatology Research
Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, National Center for
Advancing Translational Science.
Dr. Firestein and Dr. Wang serve on the Scientific Advisory Board of Ignyta,
Inc. and have equity positions. Dr. Anderson and Dr. Shoemaker are employees
of Ignyta, Inc.
About Ignyta, Inc.
Ignyta, Inc., located in San Diego, California, is a personalized medicine
company developing revolutionary new products and services to customize
diagnosis and treatment of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and other
The company was launched in August 2011 by Jonathan E. Lim, M.D., former
president, CEO, and board director of Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc., and Gary S.
Firestein, M.D., director of the Clinical and Translational Research
Institute, Dean and Associate Vice Chancellor of Translational Medicine, and
Professor of Medicine at UC San Diego. Ignyta is a trailblazer in the
application of “omics” technologies integrated with bioinformatics to the
development and commercialization of novel biomarkers and tests for diagnostic
and therapeutic applications in autoimmune diseases.
The scientific discoveries that fueled the founding of Ignyta were published
in July 2012 in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases (http://bit.ly/QOZ8Zr).
In 2012, the company successfully closed a $5.5 million Series B financing led
by City Hill Ventures, LLC (http://www.cityhillventures.com/) and Colt
Ventures (http://www.coltventures.com/). In 2012 and 2013, the company
received $500,000 and $1,000,000 capital term loans, respectively, from
Silicon Valley Bank (http://www.svb.com/). For more information, please visit:
Zachary Hornby, 858-255-5955
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