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MSDx, a venture that launched out of the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship in 2006, has released the first of a series of blood testing products that provide novel tools for studying disease processes. The NK Cytolytic Competence Assay (Human CD16/Perforin) Flow Cytometry Kit, a research-use only (RUO) kit, has wide-ranging potential for research in multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes and many other disease areas.

Ray Jacolik, MSDx's product development specialist, hard at work. Photo by Balfour Walker.

Ray Jacolik, MSDx’s product development specialist, hard at work.
Photo by Balfour Walker.

This product was funded in part by a commercialization grant awarded by the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA). The ACA grant is part of the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund and Government Services Fund, administered by the U.S. Department of Education and the Governor’s Office of Economic Recovery.

“This product release marks the first commercial launch for the company,” said president and co-founder Marie Wesselhoft. “MSDx identified a panel of novel biomarkers that, in the long term, may provide researchers and clinicians with critical data to aid in monitoring disease activity.” 

This product was alpha tested at Barrow Neurological Institute of St. Joseph’s Hospital & Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona, and the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Phoenix. These sites provided important analysis and feedback on the usability of the kit.  

MSDX's NK Cytolytic Competence Assay (Human D16/Perforin) Flow Cytometry Kit. Photo by Balfour Walker.

MSDX’s NK Cytolytic Competence Assay (Human D16/Perforin) Flow Cytometry Kit.
Photo by Balfour Walker.

Immunologist Mrinalini Kala, Ph.D., Director of the Flow Cytometry Core at the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix, agrees. “The NK (Natural Killer) Perforin flow-cytometry-based quantitative kit is easy to use, with clear data analysis,” says Kala. “It is promising for a wide range of applications in studying NK cell biology, including cancer, autoimmunity, neurological diseases, and normal homeostasis of the immune system. It has immense potential to enhance understanding and open new research horizons of NK cell biology in both basic and clinical research.”

Dr. Ramesh Nayak, Director of Research at MSDx, emphasized the importance of this research, adding: “NK cells are part of the human immune system, and help kill cells infected by viruses. Deficiencies in NK cell killing activity exist in autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Although the molecular basis of this deficiency is unknown, the expression of the protein Perforin appears to play a fundamental role. By directly measuring Perforin expression and therefore the competency of NK cells, MSDx’s NK Perforin Kit has the potential to help unlock new avenues of research.”

Find out more about the dynamic range of venture teams in the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program.