KANSAS CITY, Missouri – May 13, 2009 – ViraCor Laboratories, the leader in molecular diagnostic testing for infectious diseases, today announced the launch of a new ultrasensitive molecular test to detect JC Virus in cerebral spinal fluid (CSF). The second JCV test to be developed in ViraCor's laboratories, the ultrasensitive JCV PCR test can accurately detect the virus in a patient sample with as few as 25 viral copies per milliliter of sample.
"The need for ultrasensitive JC virus testing exists within the clinical setting as well as within pharmaceutical clinical trials," said Steve Kleiboeker, PhD, chief scientific officer of ViraCor. "The ability to detect extremely low levels of JC virus is critical to saving lives because it can progress to a fatal viral infection of the brain, Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy or PML. We are pleased to be able to add this life-saving test to our menu."
Discovered in 1971, JCV is a human polyomavirus that is able to establish a latent infection in certain tissues throughout the body once a person has acquired the virus. The majority of the population has antibodies for JCV, but the virus remains latent in most people throughout their lives. JCV can become active and cause serious problems in patients with compromised immune systems, including those with HIV/AIDS, those who have undergone organ transplantation and people taking certain classes of prescription medications.
JCV causes Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML), an extremely serious viral infection that causes destruction of certain types of cells within the brain. Symptoms of PML generally evolve over time and are typically related to the location of damage within the brain. The most common symptoms include clumsiness, weakness and visual and speech impairments. Up to 80 percent of those with PML die within six months of contracting the disease. Those who survive PML can be left with severe neurological disabilities. Since there is no antiviral medication available to treat PML, it is important to diagnose the disease as soon as possible after the onset of symptoms.
"ViraCor Laboratories is at the forefront of helping physicians and healthcare organizations quickly detect viruses and other pathogens so they can proceed with the right treatment and prevent further complications,” said John Martin, president of ViraCor. "The development of this new ultrasensitive JCV test aligns with our commitment to making a difference in the lives of patients. Providing quick, accurate results when diagnosing JCV is especially critical for the immunocompromised patient population we serve."
The development of the JCV ultrasensitive assay is not only important for patients, but for ViraCor's Custom Testing Services clients as well. ViraCor conducts research for organizations that perform clinical trials or research studies and has partnered with a range of hospitals, universities, research laboratories and pharmaceutical companies around the world that need molecular infectious disease and immunology testing expertise and services. To date, ViraCor has completed 25 JCV trials and has 14 ongoing. The company also has conducted studies involving adenovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus and BK virus. ViraCor provides a range of novel infectious disease testing for these pathogens in addition to several others such as enterovirus, herpes simplex and several respiratory viruses, from metapneumovirus to influenza. For more information about ViraCor’s menu of tests, visit www.viracor.com.
About ViraCor Laboratories
ViraCor Laboratories is a leading molecular diagnostic and research laboratory dedicated to providing innovative diagnostic testing to critical care patients and those with compromised immune systems, with expertise in infectious diseases and related pathogens, including viruses, protozoa and fungi. The company set the standard for the diagnostic industry by turning all patient results around in less than 24 hours, unlike traditional lab results which can take three days to several weeks. The company is a trusted partner of transplant hospitals nationwide, including two-thirds of all pediatric transplant hospitals.