Chiron Corp. and Ciba Corning Diagnostics Corp.outlined a new diagnostics approach, called Therametrics,during a axbriefing at the 47th National Meeting of theAmerican Association for Clinical Chemistry inAnaheim, Calif.

"The technology encompasses a new class of diagnostictests," said Kimberly Kraemer, manager, corporatecommunications, for Emeryville, Calif.-based Chiron. "Itnot only detects disease, but it measures the virus. Itsmain purpose is to provide the physician with informationthat will help him make decisions about treatment."

By knowing viral load, the physician should be able toselect patients most likely to respond to therapy,determine the right time to start therapy, monitor andpredict disease progression, and monitor individualdosing and treatment regimens. Chiron's QuantiplexHCV RNA bDNA probe is on the market in Japan. Thecompany said studies have shown that a patient has abetter chance of responding to interferon when hepatitis Cvirus levels are low. In the U.S., Therametrics tests areused to measure hormone levels for various dysfunctions.

"They link diagnostics to treatment," Kraemer said of theapproach. "It's a diagnostic product that provides moreinformation than a `yes' or `no.' It gives information onthe progression of the disease."

The product recently was approved for hepatitis B inJapan. It is available for research use in the U.S. forhepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. The company isconducting trials in the U.S. of its HIV bDNA probe, andis making it available through its reference testinglaboratory. n

-- Jim Shrine

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.