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barbara
03-17-2010, 01:01 AM
Entest Turns to Bioinformatics to Discover Therapeutics, Biomarkers for Lung Disease
March 15, 2010

Entest BioMedical said this week that it has kicked off an internal bioinformatics effort that will sift through clinical information as well as -omics and pathway data to explore whether existing drugs can be applied to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and to identify potential biomarkers for COPD.

The firm's bioinformatics-based program will "integrate existing and newly generated data," including -omics information, about COPD, the company said.

Rather than focus on finding "new pieces" to the puzzle of COPD, the researchers want to make "sense of the pieces we already have," Feng Lin, Entest's scientific director, said in a statement.

"We have begun a program based on using various automated algorithms to mine existing data sets and develop hypotheses that can be experimentally tested," Lin said.

Entest is a La Mesa, Calif.-based firm and a subsidiary of Bio-Matrix Scientific Group that is focused on stem cell therapies for COPD, cancer immunotherapies, and medical device development.

The company said that the first step in the project will be the creation of databases containing "all genes associated with various aspects of COPD."

Company scientists will then categorize these genes based on biological functionality and association with each other, enabling a search function that will allow the company to explore, for example, which existing drugs may act somewhere on a relevant pathway "and possibility induce a benefit." the company said.

The bioinformatics approach will give Entest the opportunity to "develop new intellectual property, some of which we anticipate will include new uses of existing drugs on the market," said David Koos, chairman and CEO of Entest.

Entest said the project began when it began exploring ways to develop biomarkers for planned "photoceutical trials" of its therapeutic candidates.

Last month, the firm and academic collaborators published in the Journal of Translational Medicine an outline of its approach to treating COPD with a stem cell-based therapy accompanied by the use of "low level" lasers, which induce photo-stimulation rather than the thermal effects of higher-energy lasers.