Lidak Pharmaceuticals Inc. of La Jolla, Calif., has developed anassay to determine unbound fatty acid concentrations in bloodand other fluids.

The test is intended to determine how unbound fatty acidsinfluence immune response, said test designer Dr. AlanKleinfeld. He said high levels of unbound fatty acids apparentlyinhibit killer T cells, the white blood cells that kill cancer andvirally infected cells.

Clinicians have seen a correlation between high levels ofunbound fatty acids and diseases such as diabetes and cancer,but until now there was no direct assay to measure unboundfatty acids, said Kleinfeld.

The test uses a fluorescent fatty acid binding protein to rapidlymeasure unbound fatty acid levels.

The assay will be sold initially for medical research purposes,but Lidak (NASDAQ:LDAKA) anticipates future sales to clinicalresearch markets, said Fred A. Espinosa, company president. Ifresearchers find that unbound fatty acid levels are indicativeof a specific disease, Lidak's test can easily be used as is in theclinic, he said.

Molecular Probes Inc. of Eugene, Ore., will begin selling theassay this summer. -- CTV

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