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Upstate research leads to patent for saliva concussion test

A patent for a saliva test used to analyze and predict the occurrence of mild traumatic brain injury and concussion symptoms that was developed through research at Upstate Medical University and Penn State College of Medicine has been awarded to Quadrant Biosciences, SUNY Research Foundation and Penn State College of Medicine. Quadrant is a StartUP NY company based at the Central New York Biotech Accelerator.

This patent is a transformative piece of intellectual property that Quadrant is using to develop its Clarifi™ mTBI Saliva Test, expected to be available in late 2023. Quadrant has started discussions about potentially licensing this technology to third-parties. This test uses small non-coding RNAs found in the saliva to help diagnose concussions.

"My son sustained a serious concussion in a youth hockey game. That's when I discovered there needed to be a better, more exact way to diagnose concussions. I started Quadrant Biosciences in 2015 in Syracuse on the foundation of improving the lives of children and families," said Rich Uhlig, CEO and founder of Quadrant Biosciences. "Seeing this patent come through is a realization of goals set seven years ago."

The patented research was led by Upstate Professor Frank Middleton, PhD, and Steve Hicks, MD, PhD, now at Penn State College of Medicine, and focused on young adult and pediatric populations, who are most at risk for head injuries. Hicks earned his doctorates and completed his residency at Upstate.

"Our motivation for developing this technology was to prevent further harm to the kids, athletes, and adults who experience mild, moderate, or repetitive head impacts," Middleton. said "While most of the field has focused on peripheral blood measures, for the past decade we worked extensively to establish the utility of quantifying small RNA molecules in saliva as predictors of concussion or long-lasting symptoms from head impacts."

Hicks said: "As a pediatrician who provides medical care for children and teens with concussion, I am excited by the potential of this technology to improve the way clinicians manage this common injury.  A saliva-based test for concussion could provide a novel addition to the physician toolbox."

This is the second patent awarded in less than one year to Quadrant and its partners. In March 2022, a patent was issued from the USPTO for its development of a saliva-based, epigenetic autism diagnostic aid; this same technology received FDA Breakthrough Device designation in April 2021.


Caption: Upstate's Frank Middleton, PhD, played a key role in the development of a saliva test for concussion that was awarded a patent for Quadrant Biosciences, Penn State College of Medicine and SUNY Research Foundation.