News & Press
Schools Turn to MiraDx: Company’s Covid-19 tests attract colleges nationwide
MiraDx Inc., a West Los Angeles-based molecular genetics company that transitioned its lab to provide Covid-19 tests for essential workers, is now signing up public and private universities and colleges across the country for its Covid-19 testing service, with test results promised within 48 hours.
The goal, according to a May 28 announcement from the company, is to enable students, faculty and staff to resume on-campus education later this year in an environment that provides a clear framework as well as easy and comprehensive access to Covid-19 testing.
“As our company continues to provide testing for thousands of first responders and essential workers, we have also turned our attention to … enabling our youth to continue their on-campus education as safely and as soon as possible,” Joanne Weidhaas, co-founder of MiraDx, said in the announcement.
MiraDx Offers COVID-19 Viral Testing To U.S. Universities and Colleges
MiraDx is now expanding access to its PCR viral testing to public and private universities and colleges across the country. MiraDx aims to enable students, faculty, and staff to resume on-campus education later this year in an environment that provides a clear framework and easy and comprehensive access to highly accurate testing for the COVID-19 virus.
MiraDx is able to develop testing programs customized to the needs of an individual institution. Notably, the MiraDx lab, which is now exclusively processing COVID-19 tests, has dedicated reserved capacity for college programs, both to optimize turnaround time and mitigate the backlog many other labs are currently experiencing. With specific days allocated to individual schools, MiraDx will be able to deliver test results back to school officials through a secure server within 48 hours of receipt at the lab.
“Accurate and sensitive COVID-19 testing of all Americans is of the utmost importance,” said Dr. Joanne Weidhaas, co-founder of MiraDx. “As our company continues to provide testing for thousands of first responders and essential workers, we have also turned our attention to another matter of national importance: enabling our youth to continue their on-campus education as safely and as soon as possible. Our goal is to contribute in a meaningful way to institutions of higher learning to allow students, faculty, and staff to return to campus in good health and give parents peace of mind that their children are safe.”
MiraDx Offering COVID-19 PCR Testing for California Skilled Nursing Facilities
MiraDx provides COVID-19 PCR testing and is further expanding access to skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) in California. This will help these facilities provide fast and accurate COVID-19 testing for health care personnel and residents in accordance with recently released guidelines issued by the California Department of Public Health.
The MiraDx lab, which is now exclusively processing COVID-19 tests, has capacity of up to 5,000 tests per day for SNFs to ensure they are able to comply with the state’s guidelines, which include: exclusive use of PCR testing with 48-hour turnaround time; baseline testing for all residents and healthcare personnel in facilities that do not currently have a positive case; and testing of 25 percent of healthcare personnel every seven days, including staff from multiple shifts and facility locations, with 100 percent of each facility’s staff being tested each month.
“There is no higher priority at MiraDx than helping prevent this virus from causing further devastation within the facilities that care for vulnerable members of our families and communities,” said Dr. Joanne Weidhaas, co-founder of MiraDx.
MiraDx Creates COVID-19 Tests for Nursing Homes, Cops, Firefighters & Healthcare Workers
When Dr. Joanne Weidhaas lost their family’s orange Tabby cat named Pumpkin, to a “weird coronavirus” three years ago, the RNA biologist threw herself into a month-long study of it. She wanted to get to the bottom of what had happened.
So once this novel coronavirus pandemic hit, Weidhaas realized she was strangely well-equipped for research and testing.
“This (new coronavirus) comes along and, I mean, we’ve done all the research on it, and I sit down with the head of my lab (and) we just said ‘we can actually really do that,'” Weidhaas said. “We have all the equipment, we have the expertise, we’re a high-complexity molecular diagnostics lab, which is exactly poised to look at this.”.
Los Angeles-based Molecular Genetics Company MiraDx Transitions CLIA-Certified Lab to Provide COVID-19 Testing to Essential Workers
MiraDx, a Los Angeles-based molecular genetics company, has transitioned its CLIA-certified lab to provide COVID-19 tests for essential workers, prioritizing hospital and field-based healthcare workers who are providing direct patient care as well as first responders. In addition, MiraDx’s sister non-profit organization, MiraKind.org, is distributing the tests free of charge to frontline workers and organizations in need via philanthropic donations.
MiraDx Enrolling First-Ever Non-Tumor Based microRNA Clinical Trial at UCLA
Molecular genetics company MiraDx today announced it is opening patient enrollment in collaboration with UCLA for a first-ever non-tumor based microRNA biomarker-driven clinical trial for KRAS-variant positive HPV-positive head and neck cancer patients (HNSCC). The trial will randomize 70 patients to current standard of care (radiation plus cisplatin) or radiation, cisplatin and ERBITUX® (cetuximab), an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) antagonist, to compare differences in overall survival.
Study provides roadmap to more personalized cancer treatment
Researchers have found that people with advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma and the KRAS-variant inherited genetic mutation have significantly improved survival when given a short course of the drug cetuximab in combination with standard chemotherapy and radiation.
The study was led by UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center member Dr. Joanne Weidhaas in collaboration with colleagues at the NRG Oncology RTOG. They discovered that people with both head and neck squamous cell carcinoma and the KRAS-variant who were treated with standard treatment, but not with cetuximab, had a higher risk of failing treatment and developing metastatic disease, meaning the cancer spreads to distant organs and is incurable.
Specific genetic mutation may increase risk for breast cancer after acute estrogen withdrawal
UCLA researchers have discovered that for women with a relatively common inherited genetic mutation, known as the KRAS-variant, an abrupt lowering of estrogen in the body may increase the risk for breast cancer and impact the biology of their breast cancer. Scientists also found that women with the KRAS-variant are more likely to develop a second primary breast cancer, independent of a first breast cancer.
MiraDx Highlights Breakthrough Publication Describing a Marker for Resistance to Platinum Treatment in Ovarian Cancer
MiraDx® today notes the publication of breakthrough research showing that the KRAS-variant acts as a biomarker of poor survival and worse response to treatment for patients with ovarian cancer(1). Ovarian cancer patients with the KRAS-variant are twice as likely to die of their ovarian cancer, and three times more resistant to standard platinum chemotherapy compared to ovarian cancer patients who do not carry the variant. The KRAS-variant is found in up to 25% of newly diagnosed ovarian cancer patients. Studies are being actively pursued to identify which chemotherapeutic agents work best for these patients.
A Gene Test to Identify Chemo-Resistant Ovarian Cancers
Ovarian cancer causes more deaths than any other reproductive cancer, largely because there is little doctors can do to prolong women’s lives after they are diagnosed. Surgery can remove the most obvious growths and chemotherapy is also recommended, but for some patients, researchers have found, the most commonly prescribed chemotherapy can worsen their disease.
Genetic Marker Linked to Ovarian Cancer Risk
A newly identified genetic marker may help predict ovarian cancer risk, Yale University researchers report online in Cancer Research. Variations in the KRAS gene occur in one-quarter of women with ovarian cancer, and 61% of women with ovarian cancer who have a family history of breast and ovarian cancer.
"For many women out there with a strong family history of ovarian cancer who previously have had no identified genetic cause for their family's disease, this might be it for them," says study researcher Joanne B. Weidhaas, MD, PhD, an associate professor of therapeutic radiology and researcher for the Yale Cancer Center in New Haven, Conn., in a news release. "Our findings support that the KRAS-variant is a new genetic marker of ovarian cancer risk."