After a year fully on stealth mode, we shared our initial technical, biological and clinical results at the Molecular Medicine Tri-Conference in March 2016 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

Some of the highlights from our keynote were very nicely reported by GenomeWeb:

Molecular diagnostics startup Miroculus is going all in on microRNAs as the ideal blood-based biomarker for diagnosing and monitoring a number of diseases and even tracking an individual's general physiological well-being at the point of care and in resource-poor areas of the world, the company's chief technology officer said this week.

Based in San Francisco's Mission Bay area, Miroculus aims to tap into the growing evidence that miRNAs — small non-coding RNA molecules whose primary role is to regulate gene expression — can serve as powerful biomarkers for a number of conditions including various cancers and infectious diseases.

Soto noted in his presentation that miRNAs satisfy a large number of criteria for a useful biomarker, including the fact that they are highly stable and can be found in a variety of bodily fluids, including blood serum, plasma, saliva, and urine, meaning they can be detected relatively easily and noninvasively on a repeat basis over time.

The company's workflow for this analysis is relatively straightforward: extract total RNA from a patient's biofluid sample; add specific probes and reagents for performing loop-mediated isothermal amplification; and amplify and detect the target molecules with a luminescent readout.

Soto said that the platform's current limit of detection is about 1 attomolar, a figure the company believes it can still improve on. Early experiments have also shown that it is specific enough to distinguish between different miRNA isomiRs.

Finally, Soto showed some data demonstrating the use of Miroculus' platform to detect miRNAS as a surrogate marker of a person's general physiological condition. Specifically, company researchers tracked the level of various miRNAs in Soto's blood over five weeks. For two weeks he maintained his normal work, sleep, and exercise patterns, but in the third week he attended a CrossFit class with a friend and immediately saw a change in the levels of two specific miRNAs associated with muscle injury.

"Some would argue this application is insignificant in a world full of serious disease," Soto said. "But, it's proof of principle that these biomarkers can be so ubiquitous and inexpensively monitored to use in the developing world as accurate biomarker tests for a variety of health issues."

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