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  Pharmaceutical Patents  

 

Title:  Diagnostic assay for transmissible spongiform encephalopathies
United States Patent: 
7,368,247
Issued: 
May 6, 2008

Inventors: 
Hochstrasser; Denis Francois (Geneva, CH), Sanchez; Jean-Charles (Geneva, CH), Zimmermann; Catherine Gabrielle (Geneva, CH), Guillaume; Elisabeth (Annemasse, FR)
Assignee: 
Universite De Geneve (Geneva, CH)
Appl. No.: 
10/238,557
Filed: 
September 10, 2002


 

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Abstract

Heart and brain fatty acid binding proteins (H-FABP, B-FABP) are markers for TSEs, especially CJD. The invention provides a diagnostic assay for either of these markers, preferably by enzyme immunoassay using a specific antibody thereto. Since H-FABP is also a marker for acute myocardial infarction (AMI), to distinguish CJD from AMI requires an assay specific to AMI, e.g. using troponin-1 or CK-MB as a marker, also to be carried out.

Description of the Invention

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It has now surprisingly been found that two fatty acid binding proteins (FABP), known as heart (H-FABP) and brain (B-FABP), are markers for TSEs. Thus, the invention provides a diagnostic assay for a TSE or the possibility thereof in a sample of body fluid taken from a subject suspected of suffering from the TSE, which comprises determining the concentration of heart or brain fatty acid binding protein (H-FABP or B-FABP) in the sample. The method is especially applicable to the diagnosis of CJD, especially new variant CJD, in human patients, and to BSE in ruminant animals such as cattle.

Conveniently the method is carried out using an antibody to H-FABP or B-FABP, whereby the extent of the reaction between the antibody and the FABP in the sample is assayed and related to the concentration of FABP in the sample. The concentration thus determined is used to make or assist in making a diagnosis.

The present invention enables an assay of high sensitivity, specificity and predictive accuracy for CJD to be carried out. "Sensitivity" is defined as the percentage of true positives given by the assay on samples taken from patients in whom clinical examination has confirmed CJD. "Specificity" means the percentage of true negatives given by the assay on control samples, i.e. from patients in whom clinical examination has not revealed CJD. "Predictive accuracy" means the ratio of true positives to total positives (true+false) expressed as a percentage.

H-FABP is a known marker of acute myocardial infarction (AMI), see Ishii, J. et al., "Serum concentrations of myoglobin Vs human heart-type cytoplasmic fatty-acid binding protein in early detection of acute myocardial infarction", Clinical Chemistry 1997;43 1372-1378. Therefore, in order to use an assay for H-FABP for the diagnosis of CJD in humans to better advantage, it is desirable to perform another kind of assay for AMI (one in which the marker is not a FABP) in order to eliminate from the diagnosis for CJD those patients who are positive in the AMI assay.

Thus, in a particular embodiment, the invention provides a method which comprises determining the concentration of H-FABP in a first assay, as defined above, whereby a positive result indicates either a CJD or acute myocardial infarction, and which further comprises carrying out a second diagnostic assay, for acute myocardial infarction (AMI) only, whereby a positive result in the H-FABP assay and a negative result in the assay for AMI indicates that the patient might be suffering from CJD. Assays using Troponin-I and Creatine Kinase-MB (CK-MB) as early biochemical markers of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) are well known and suitable for the above purpose.

A similar H-FABP and also a brain-specific fatty acid binding protein (B-FABP) have been found in the brain of mice, see Pu, L. et al., Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry 198, 69-78 (1999). Brain H-FABP (not to be confused with B-FABP) is believed to differ from heart H-FABP by a single amino acid substitution. However, B-FABP differs considerably. Sellner, P. A. et al., "Development role of fatty acid binding proteins in mouse brain" Dev. Brain Res. 89, 33-46 (1995), estimated the DNA homology at 69%, while A. Schreiber et al., "Recombinant human heart-type fatty acid binding protein as standard in immunochemical assays", Clin. Chem. Lab. Mod. 36(5), 283-288 (1998), mention 0.64% amino acid sequence homology and that a monoclonal antibody to human H-FABP is cross-reactive with human B-FABP to the extent of only 1.7%.

Now that the present inventors have found that H-FABP is a marker for CJD, it is a very reasonable prediction that B-FABP will also be. Since B-FABP is specific to brain tissue and does not appear to react significantly with a monoclonal antibody to H-FABP, it will not give positives for AMI, making a separate assay for AMI unnecessary.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

For the method of assay, the sample can be taken from any convenient body fluid of the subject, but preferably plasma or serum (rather than whole blood). Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is another useful fluid, particularly when testing animals such as cattle.

The method is considered applicable to all types of TSE, including those referred to above, and to any human or animal suffering or suspected of suffering therefrom. Particularly, the invention is applicable to all types of CJD in humans, including new variant, sporadic and genetic (familial). Further, it is applicable to BSE in cattle and BSE-like disease in other animals, e.g. deer.

The marker, H-FABP or B-FABP, is preferably measured by an immunoassay, using a specific antibody to H-FABP and measuring the extent of the antigen (H-FABP or B-FABP)/antibody interaction. For the diagnosis of human patients, the antibody is preferably anti-human H-FABP or B-FABP. Similarly, if the subject is an animal the antibody is preferably anti- to the H-FABP or B-FABP of the same animal variety, e.g. anti-bovine H-FABP or B-FABP if the patient is bovine. However, there is some cross reactivity of the antibodies between species, often enabling a heterologous antibody to be used: for example anti-rat/mouse H-FABP can be used to detect BSE in cattle. It may be a monoclonal antibody (conveniently mouse) or an engineered antibody. Preferably a mouse anti-human, anti-bovine etc. monoclonal antibody is used. Antibodies to H-FABP are known, e.g. 66E2 and 67D3 described by Roos, W. et al., "Monoclonal antibodies to human heart type fatty acid-binding protein", J. Immunol. Methods 183 149-153 (1995). Antibody 66E2 is commercially available. Also, the usual Kohler-Milstein method may be used to raise H-FABP or B-FABP antibodies. The source of protein for this purpose can be the naturally derived or recombinant DNA-prepared protein. Recombinant human H-FABP and B-FABP have been described by Schreiber, A. supra and Shimizu, F. et al., "Isolation and expression of a cDNA for human brain fatty acid binding protein (B-FABP)", Biochim Biophys. Acta 1354, 24-28 (1997), respectively. Less preferably, the antibody may be polyclonal.

Any known method of immunoassay may be used. A sandwich assay is preferred. In this method, a first antibody to the FABP is bound to the solid phase such as a well of a plastics microtitre plate, and incubated with the sample and with a labelled second antibody specific to the H-FABP or B-FABP to be detected. Alternatively, an antibody capture assay could be used here, the test sample is allowed to bind to a solid phase, and the anti-FABP antibody is then added and allowed to bind. After washing away unbound material, the presence or amount of antibody bound to the solid phase is determined using a labelled second antibody, anti- to the first.

In another embodiment, a competition assay could be performed between the sample and a labelled FABP or a peptide derived therefrom, these two antigens being in competition for a limited amount of anti-FABP antibody bound to a solid support. The labelled FABP or peptide could be pre-incubated with the antibody on the solid phase, whereby the FABP in the sample displaces part of the FABP or peptide thereof bound to the antibody.

In yet another embodiment, the two antigens are allowed to compete in a single co-incubation with the antibody. After removal of unbound antigen from the support by washing, the amount of label attached to the support is determined and the amount of protein in the sample is measured by reference to standard titration curves established previously.

The label is preferably an enzyme. The substrate for the enzyme may be colour-forming, fluorescent or chemiluminescent.

It is highly preferable to use an amplified form of assay, whereby an enhanced "signal" is produced from a relatively low level of protein to be detected. One particular form of amplified immunoassay is enhanced chemiluminescent (ECL) assay. Here, the antibody is preferably labelled with horseradish peroxidase, which participates in a chemiluminescent reaction with luminol, a peroxide substrate and a compound which enhances the intensity and duration of the emitted light, typically 4-iodophenol or 4-hydroxycinnamic acid.

Another preferred form of amplified immunoassay is immuno-PCR. In this technique, the antibody is covalently linked to a molecule of arbitrary DNA comprising PCR primers, whereby the DNA with the antibody attached to it is amplified by the polymerase chain reaction. See Hendrickson, E. R. at al., Nucleic Acids Research 23, 522-529 (1995) or Sano, T. et al., in "Molecular Biology and Biotechnology" ed. Robert A. Meyers, VCH Publishers, Inc. (1995), pages 458-460. The signal is read out as before.

In a particularly preferred procedure, an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was developed to detect H-FABP in serum. Since H-FABP is a marker for AMI as well, Troponin-I or CK-MB levels were assayed in order to exclude any heart damage. As described in the Example, these assays were assessed in serial plasma and CSF samples, from patients lacking AMI and CJD, patients with AMI, patients with dementia and patients with confirmed CJD through autopsy. The sensitivity, specificity and predictive accuracy for H-FABP in CJD above a suitable cut-off level were all 100%. Thus, H-FABP detection combined with the Troponin-I or CK-MB assay provides a useful serum marker of CJD diagnosis or brain damage.

The use of a rapid microparticle-enhanced turbidimetric immunoassay, developed for H-FABP in the case of AMI, Robers, M. et al., "Development of a rapid microparticle-enhanced turbidimetric immunoassay for plasma fatty acid-binding protein, an early marker of acute myocardial infarction", Clin. Chem. 44, 1564-1567 (1998), should drastically decrease the time of the assay. Thus, the full automation in a widely used clinical chemistry analyser such as the "COBAS" MIRA Plus system from Hoffmann-La Roche or the "AXSYM" system from Abbott laboratories should be possible and applied for routine clinical diagnosis of CJD.

The H-FABP or B-FABP can be measured by other means than immunoassay. For example, the sample can be subjected to 1 or 2-DE gel electrophoresis and the amount of the FABP estimated by donsitometric scanning of the gel or of a blot therefrom.

The assay of the invention can be used together with one or more other pre-mortem assays for the TSE, including specifically those assays described above. Such combined procedures are particularly useful in diagnosing BSE in ruminant animals such as cattle.
 

Claim 1 of 9 Claims

1. A method of identifying a subject suffering from a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy selected from the group consisting of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) and Bovine Spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in a test subject comprising: (i) performing an immunoassay for determining a level of brain-derived heart fatty acid binding protein in a body fluid sample derived from said test subject suspected of suffering from a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy selected from the group consisting of CJD and BSE; and (ii) comparing the level of brain-derived heart fatty acid binding protein in the body fluid sample derived from said test subject to the level of brain-derived heart fatty acid binding protein in a body fluid sample derived from a control subject wherein the control subject does not exhibit a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy selected from the group consisting of CJD and BSE; wherein an elevated level of brain-derived heart fatty acid binding protein in the body fluid sample derived from said test subject compared to the level of brain-derived heart fatty acid binding protein in the body fluid sample derived from the control subject, in combination with clinical evaluation of acute myocardial infarction in the subject and assaying for a marker of acute myocardial infarction in the subject and obtaining a non-elevated level of the marker in comparison with a normal control which is characteristic of the subject having no acute myocardial infarction, identifies that the test subject suffers from the transmissible spongiform encephalopathy selected from the group consisting of CJD and BSE.

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