Hackensack Meridian CDI Scientists Develop ‘CATCHER’ for Crucial Biomarkers

Hackensack Meridian Health

Newswise — June 17, 2021 – Nutley, NJ – Tiny genetic markers, circulating in the blood, have shown great promise in diagnosing and treating disease. Yet identifying and harvesting these extracellular vesicles (EVs) have been a major challenge for science. 

Now a laboratory at the Hackensack Meridian Center for Discovery and Innovation (CDI) has discovered a highly sensitive methodology that can efficiently find and harness EVs – particularly exosomes and the micro RNAs they carry. These could be crucial clues to identifying diseases such as cancer early on in its development. 

The scientists have now unveiled the Extracellular Vesicle Capture by AnTibody of CHoice and 1 Enzymatic Release, or EV-CATCHER, in the Journal of Extracellular Vesicles

“We are establishing the threshold of detection,” said Olivier Loudig, Ph.D., an associate member of the CDI. “The EV-CATCHER is really intended to push the envelope.” 

“This work shows us a new dimension to the study of circulating and exhaled biomarkers,” said David Perlin, PhD., the chief scientific officer and senior vice president of the CDI.  “The Loudig laboratory is elevating the field with this novel work which has great promise."  

The EV-CATCHER was designed by Loudig as a high-throughput test to find and quantify tiny amounts of micro RNAs detected through next-generation sequencing. The technology uses targeted antibodies to bind to the molecules in plasma. It was developed after Loudig and his team tested 11 other methodologies, including magnetic beads, which were found to be inexact. 

Testing the EV-CATCHER involved taking mouse-derived extracellular EVs that were spiked into human plasma. The results showed the EV-CATCHER caught the mouse-derived material – and the researchers were able to successfully extract the intact micro RNAs within. 

Other analyses assessed samples from COVID-19 patients.

The first comparison used sequences from samples purified with the EV-CATCHER, in contrast to whole-serum samples. Loudig and his team were able to show which exosomes were hallmarks of hospitalized patients with serious disease, and which showed up in more moderate cases.

Separately, a test on convalescent plasma of recovered COVID-19 patients showed that high levels of anti-spike IgG antibodies demonstrated neutralizing properties against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, in vitro. 

Furthermore, the testing showed that the COVID-19 patients’ exosomes themselves had neutralizing properties on the virus – meaning it could have therapeutic value in convalescent plasma, and other potential treatments of the future. 

“This paper demonstrates that the technology not only helps us detect and diagnose disease in its early stages – it can also potentially be used to help treat disease, as well,” said Megan Mitchell, Ph.D., a postdoctoral research fellow in the Loudig lab, and a co-author of the paper.  

 

ABOUT HACKENSACK MERIDIAN HEALTH

Hackensack Meridian Health is a leading not-for-profit health care organization that is the largest, most comprehensive and truly integrated health care network in New Jersey, offering a complete range of medical services, innovative research and life-enhancing care.

Hackensack Meridian Health comprises 17 hospitals from Bergen to Ocean counties, which includes three academic medical centers – Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, JFK Medical Center in Edison; two children’s hospitals - Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital in Hackensack, K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital in Neptune; nine community hospitals – Bayshore Medical Center in Holmdel, Mountainside Medical Center in Montclair, Ocean Medical Center in Brick, Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, Pascack Valley Medical Center in Westwood, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy, Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, and Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin; a behavioral health hospital – Carrier Clinic in Belle Mead; and two rehabilitation hospitals - JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute in Edison and Shore Rehabilitation Institute in Brick.

Additionally, the network has more than 500 patient care locations throughout the state which include ambulatory care centers, surgery centers, home health services, long-term care and assisted living communities, ambulance services, lifesaving air medical transportation, fitness and wellness centers, rehabilitation centers, urgent care centers and physician practice locations. Hackensack Meridian Health has more than 36,000 team members, and 7,000 physicians and is a distinguished leader in health care philanthropy, committed to the health and well-being of the communities it serves.

The network’s notable distinctions include having four of its hospitals are among the top hospitals in New Jersey for 2020-21, according to U.S. News & World Report. Additionally, the health system has more top-ranked hospitals than any system in New Jersey. Children’s Health is again ranked a top provider of pediatric health care in the United States and earned top 50 rankings in the annual U.S. News’ 2020-21 Best Children’s Hospitals report.   Other honors include consistently achieving Magnet® recognition for nursing excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center and being named to Becker’s Healthcare’s “150 Top Places to Work in Healthcare/2019” list.

The Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, the first private medical school in New Jersey in more than 50 years, welcomed its first class of students in 2018 to its campus in Nutley and Clifton. The Hackensack Meridian Center for Discovery and Innovation (CDI), housed in a fully renovated state-of-the-art facility, seeks to translate current innovations in science to improve clinical outcomes for patients with cancer, infectious diseases and other life-threatening and disabling conditions.

Additionally, the network partnered with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to find more cures for cancer faster while ensuring that patients have access to the highest quality, most individualized cancer care when and where they need it.

Hackensack Meridian Health is a member of AllSpire Health Partners, an interstate consortium of leading health systems, to focus on the sharing of best practices in clinical care and achieving efficiencies.

To learn more, visit www.hackensackmeridianhealth.org.

 

About the Center for Discovery and Innovation

The Center for Discovery and Innovation, a newly established member of Hackensack Meridian Health, seeks to translate current innovations in science to improve clinical outcomes for patients with cancer, infectious diseases and other life-threatening and disabling conditions. The CDI, housed in a fully renovated state-of-the-art facility, offers world-class researchers a support infrastructure and culture of discovery that promotes science innovation and rapid translation to the clinic.

For additional information, please visit www.hmh-cdi.org.



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