LifeLabs Medical Laboratory Services has launched JOINTstat, a diagnostic blood test for rheumatoid arthritis. The JOINTstat blood test is the first test of its kind available in Canada that aids in the early detection and diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. When caught and treated early, rheumatoid arthritis outcomes can be greatly improved. Through an agreement with Augurex Life Sciences Corp., developer of the JOINTstat test, JOINTstat is now offered exclusively by LifeLabs to patients and physicians across Canada.
“LifeLabs is committed to building a healthier Canada through the delivery of innovative testing services to patients and health-care providers” said Jeff Sumner, senior vice-president of business development, clinical affairs and genetics at LifeLabs. “We are delighted to partner with Augurex to offer JOINTstat to Canadians. JOINTstat will help physicians diagnose and treat the many Canadians who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis.”
The JOINTstat test measures 14-3-3eta, a protein involved in joint damage that leads to debilitation in patients with RA, a disease that affects one out of every 100 Canadians. High levels of 14-3-3eta protein indicate that the patient should be referred to a rheumatologist.
The development of 14-3-3eta is a true Canadian success story. The 14-3-3eta protein’s role in arthritis was a collaborative discovery by researchers Dr. Walter Maksymowych at the University of Alberta and Drs. Aziz Ghahary and Ruhangiz Kilani at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and Vancouver General Hospital. JOINTstat has been evaluated in clinical studies in over 3,000 patients and has been available in the United States since late 2013.
“When diagnosed early, rheumatoid arthritis can be better managed with drug therapies, resulting in better outcomes by limiting disease progression. Current diagnostic tests are limited in their ability to catch the disease early,” said Maksymowych, Medical Research Professor of Medicine and Rheumatologist at the University of Alberta and co-discoverer of 14-3-3eta. “With the availability of JOINTstat in Canada, physicians now have the opportunity to treat rheumatoid arthritis early, prior to the onset of significant joint damage. This represents an important milestone towards the goal of personalized medicine.”
As an exhibitor at the upcoming 2015 Canadian Rheumatology Association Annual Scientific Meeting in Quebec City from Feb. 4 to 7, LifeLabs will present JOINTstat data along with leading Canadian and international investigators that describe 14-3-3eta’s role in the disease process and the clinical usefulness of its measurements for diagnosis, joint damage prognosis and monitoring.
JOINTstat specimen collection kits can be ordered by physicians in Canada by calling 1-877-990-1575 or by visiting the LifeLabs website. The cost of the test is $75, which may be covered by private insurance.