Best served at room temperature: Just add water

GenVault provides GenTegra DNA to support cardio genetic testing at Berkeley HeartLab

Kimberely Sirk
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CARLSBAD, Calif.—GenVault Corp. recently announced that Berkeley HeartLab, a subsidiary of Celera Corp., has adopted GenTegra DNA to preserve and store diagnostic samples for genetic testing related to the management of cardiovascular disease.  

As new clinically important diagnostic genetic markers are introduced, such as KIF6 (a gene variant associated with non-fatal myocardial infarction among certain carrier populations), accessing stored DNA eliminates the need to collect a new sample and facilitates the expeditious return of potentially critical medical information to the physician, the companies say.

Rene Nunez, director of marketing for GenVault, points out that Berkeley HeartLab's adoption of GenTegra DNA in handling and processing of samples will reap numerous benefits for the high-volume facility.

"They intend to use the GenTegra DNA to preserve and store diagnostic samples for genetic testing focused on cardiovascular risk and disease," Nunez explains. The technology, he says, is an innovation in stabilizing biosamples.

Specifically, Nunez continues, "GenTegra DNA is comprised of inorganic matrix with built-in oxidative protection and antimicrobial activity for dry, room temperature transport and biobanking of purified DNA. It is provided in ready-to-use aliquots, and purified DNA dried within GenTegra DNA is simply and fully resolubilized with water for direct downstream molecular analysis."

Not only can samples be stored at room temperature and resolubilized simply with water, cost saving in sample handling can add up quickly in high-volume facilities such as Berkeley HeartLab, Nunez points out. The technology can also be considered a tool in promoting "green" laboratory practices, he says.

"Their use of GenTegra enables them to transport and store nucleic acids efficiently and cost effectively at ambient temperature and in the dry state while ensuring the integrity of their nucleic acid samples, Nunez adds. "Their adoption of the GenTegra technology is a step in the right direction towards sustainable biobanking, elimination of expensive refrigerated/cold pack shipping and reduction in energy consumption associated with operating laboratory freezers."

Although unable to discuss the partnership's specifics, Nunez did point out that the sheer volume of samples that Berkeley HeartLab handles is indicative of the cost savings that the lab can envision by employing the new sample-handling technology.

"The scope of the sample collection relative to the cardiovascular study using GenTegra is the upwards of 700,000 samples initially," Nunez comments. "The success can be realized immediately with the savings in their sample management."

"GenVault is excited to partner with Berkeley HeartLab in the application of our GenTegra technology in support of diagnostic genetic testing," says Dr. David Wellis, president and CEO of GenVault. "Berkeley HeartLab's extensive and successful validation of GenTegra within its laboratory is testimony to the robustness and quality of GenVault's technologies in managing clinical samples."

Although Berkeley HeartLab referred questions on the deal to GenVault, Dr. Jean Amos Wilson, vice president of laboratory operations at Berkeley HeartLab, says in a prepared statement that an improved method for basic sample handling procedures is welcome: "At Berkeley HeartLab, the further integration of genetic tests into the standard panels of cardiovascular diagnostics requires efficient, high-quality DNA handling and management. GenVault's GenTegra DNA provides a robust infrastructure for supporting our genetic testing business," Amos says.

GenVault provides risk-free biosample workflow, transport and storage solutions for genomic medicine, discovery and identification. The company counts among its clients pharmaceutical companies, medical centers, academic institutions and law enforcement agencies. As a scalable, reliable and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional freezers and nucleic acid purification systems, the company's dry-state platform enables the extraction, preservation, recovery and distribution of biosamples at ambient temperature.  

According to Nunez, other customers who utilize GenTegra DNA include Centre Hospital De L'Universite Montreal, Dow Agrosciences, Genome Quebec Canada, Life Technologies, Scripps Genomic Medicine and University Health Network.

Berkeley HeartLab is a CLIA- and CAP-certified testing laboratory that maintains a comprehensive list of assays that utilize state-of-the-art genetic testing. Its laboratory processes approximately 1,000 samples per day and performs more than 200,000 tests per month. The facility offers services to predict cardiovascular disease risk and improve patient management.

Celera is a healthcare business focusing on the integration of genetic testing into routine clinical care through a combination of products and services incorporating proprietary discoveries. Celera also commercializes a wide range of molecular diagnostic products through Abbott and has licensed other relevant diagnostic technologies developed to provide personalized disease management in cancer.

Kimberely Sirk

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