Courtagen Introduces New Tests for Mitochrondrial Disorders

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by Chris Comish |

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Courtagen Life Sciences, Inc., released several new Next Generation Sequencing tests designed to evaluate people with epilepsy and mitochondrial disease.

Mitochondrial diseases are inherited or chronic illness. They can occur either at birth or may develop later, and include problems with development and cognition. They may cause poor growth, lack of coordination, weakness, pain and seizures.  Unfortunately, mitchondrial disorders have no cure. Approximately 1 in 2,000 people have a mitochrondrial disorder.

Epilepsy is the fourth most frequently occurring neurological disorder. People of any age can be affected by epilepsy. Symptoms and the degree of seizures can vary based on the individual.

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Courtagen is a diagnostics company focusing on genetic tests for pediatric neurological and metabolic disorders, including mitochondrial disorders, epilepsy, and autism spectrum disorder. According to the company’s mission statement “Courtagen is committed to helping physicians, families, and children suffering with neurological disorders. Test results provide your doctor with genetic information to help diagnose disease and guide treatment decisions. Genetic testing can lead to positive changes or, in some cases, major improvements in a child’s quality of life.”

The news tests to be offered by Courtagen include the nucSEEK® Focus Nuclear Mitochondrial Gene Panel and epiSEEK® Focus Epilepsy and Seizure Disorder Panel. These screens will add to the already available tests produced by Courtagen, which include the nucSEEK® Comprehensive Nuclear Mitochondrial Exome Panel and epiSEEK® Comprehensive Epilepsy and Seizure Disorder Panel.

“Our new nucSEEK® Focus and epiSEEK® Focus panels are good examples of Courtagen’s ability to respond to physician’s feedback and provide the types of genetic tests they want,” said Brian McKernan, Chief Executive Officer of Courtagen. “Our deep experience with Next Generation Sequencing, coupled with our streamlined laboratory and bioinformatics operations, allows us to rapidly develop and deliver high-quality tests for genetic analysis and clinical interpretation.”

NucSEEK® Focus is designed to identify 181 genes associated with mitochondrial disorders. Mitochrondrial disorders can cause developmental delays, autism spectrum disorders, seizures, migraines, chronic fatigue, complex regional pain syndrome, and involuntary nervous system dysfunction. EpiSEEK® Focus panel is designed to identify 76 genes that have been associated with epilepsy and seizure disorders.

The tests will contribute to the personalized medicine revolution, by hopefully directing physicians to better ways for diagnosing these disorders and for selecting appropriate treatments.

Courtagen tests are based on self-collection of a saliva sample, that is mailed to the company directly from the patient or caregiver. The company also tests genetic information taken from blood and tissue samples.