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Toshiba Genelyzer(TM) Advances Practical DNA Analysis in Diverse Environments

20 June, 2003


Electrochemical DNA chip supports a portable platform
that widens scope of practical analysis

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Tokyo -- Toshiba Corporation today announced that it has brought the breakthrough technology of its chip-based DNA detection and analysis methodology to a portable system that can provide accurate DNA analysis in environments as different as a hospital lab and a food inspection line. GenelyzerTM introduces a simple accurate, platform that makes DNA analysis a practical tool in applications as diverse as developing personalized medicine and testing for genetically modified crops. Development of GenelyzerTM was supported by grants from Japan's New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO).

Other DNA-chip-based systems for gene analysis use fluorescence detection. Each of the five processes necessary for detection and analysis -- DNA extraction, amplification, hybridization reaction, detection and identification -- requires dedicated, expensive equipment and complex manual handling, all of which confine testing to special facilities, such as clinical laboratories. Moreover, the high degree of complexity and high costs of fluorescence-based detection are not matched by the accuracy of the analysis. The overall result is to limit the effectiveness and application of DNA testing.

Toshiba's new system is based on the company's breakthrough work and basic patents in DNA current detection method. At the heart of a system is an electrochemical DNA chip that is able to analyze and type single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), common DNA sequence variations that can be used to identify genes. GenelyzerTM integrates this chip into a system that automates all procedures from hybridization on, and does so in a single piece of equipment that is only 45cm wide, 50cm deep and 23cm in height. Typical analysis of SNPs in a sample takes only one hour.

The fundamental reliability of Toshiba's electrochemical DNA chip has already been tested and proved in its application to a system for providing personalized drug therapies for people suffering from hepatitis C. While interferon is the preferred therapy for flushing hepatitis C from the liver, some individuals do not respond to this medication. The electrochemical DNA chip was successfully applied to a system for screening patients to assure they received appropriate medication.

GenelyzerTM builds on this success to provide a portable, easy to use automated DNA detection system, a practical, accurate platform that can be applied to a wide range of applications and multiple analyses. Toshiba now proposes to provide leading research institutes in Japan and overseas with GenelyzerTM, so that they can conduct a wide range of beta testing that will support refinement of GenelyzerTM as a multi-purpose platform.

One notable program will be launched at the Institute of Human Virology, a center of the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute, which will apply GenelyzerTM to gene analysis relating to the effects and side-effects of anti-HIV drugs, in order to develop tailor-made treatment regimes for patients undergoing antiretroviral therapy.

GenelyzerTM will be presented at booth 1122 of the Maryland Pavilion at the Biotechnology Industry Organization 2003 Annual Convention (BIO 2003), from June 23 to 25 in Washington D.C..

Looking to the future, Toshiba has now also turned its attention to the first two processes of DNA analysis, extraction and amplification. The company's goal is to deliver a compact, fully automated detection system that can identify DNA from samples such as blood, mucous and hair roots. This will widen the usefulness of on-site DNA analysis to include forensic applications and the investigation of criminal activities.


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