(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) A team of scientists and a physician at the University of California, Davis, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have developed a safer, more accurate test for pernicious anemia and other conditions related to the poor absorption of vitamin B12. Details of the innovative test -- which uses micro doses of carbon-14-labeled vitamin B12 produced by a modified strain of Salmonella bacteria and a $2 million accelerator mass spectrometer to measure vitamin levels -- will be published online in the April issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.0601251103
). It also will be presented at the Experimental Biology 2006 meeting at the Moscone Center South in San Francisco on Monday, April 3 at 3 p.m., room 308.
The discovery, including the first test in a human subject, is important because it gives researchers a practical alternative to the current near-obsolete laboratory test for determining if a patient's low B12 level is due to the inability to properly absorb the vitamin. The simple test would allow physicians to easily diagnose patients with vitamin B12 absorption problems before anemia, dementia and other permanent damage develop.
The work also represents a growing area of clinical research, dubbed "microdosing," whereby harmlessly small doses of drug candidates are paired with powerful accelerator mass spectrometry to initially assess activity in humans before lengthy preliminary animal testing.
An estimated 1 million Americans over the age of 65 are unable to properly absorb vitamin B12. Many of them are unaware that they have the condition, known as pernicious anemia, which puts them at risk for developing debilitating fatigue and neurological problems. At the same time, physicians treating the elderly are frustrated by the lack of a safe and simple way to test for poor vitamin B12 absorpPage: 1 2 3 4 5 Related biology news :1
Contact: Carole Gan
University of California, Davis - Health System
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