Telomerase as a diagnostic marker
Sienna’s first on-market product is based on technology for the detection of the biomarker telomerase. The product, Anti-hTERT antibody (SCD-A7) is:
- An antibody targeted against the hTERT protein component of the telomerase complex.
- Listed with the FDA for sale in the USA, with existing reimbursement in that market.
Telomerase is well recognised as a remarkable biomarker used by 90% of cancers to enable immortal cell replication. This occurs through the enzymatic role telomerase plays in the repair of chromosome ends known as telomeres. Ordinarily, cell telomeres shorten with each successive cell division until the cell dies, a process called senescence. Telomerase counteracts this telomere shortening process by adding new telomeric repeat sequences, effectively repairing the end of the telomere.
The discovery of telomerase and its role in cellular immortality resulted in a Nobel Prize for Elizabeth Blackburn PhD and her colleagues. Link to press release
Translating telomerase into a biomarker of clinical activity is complex. The telomerase enzyme comprises:
- An RNA component (hTR), which acts as a template for DNA replication,
- The telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT), which is responsible for catalytic activity
- Accessory proteins, including dyskerin.
Of the various telomerase components Sienna has found that assaying for hTERT is the most practical and efficient way of detecting the complex telomerase enzyme in a clinical setting.
Download Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for ASR product here, or for IVD product here.
Sienna’s work in creating the first telomerase detection product suitable for use in clinical pathology laboratories has resulted in a world first diagnostic test being launched in the USA.