Labs Report 85 Percent Reduction in STR Analysis Time with SoftGenetics' ChimerMaker Software

Posted: March 23, 2012 at 10:03 pm

By Uduak Grace Thomas

Users of ChimerMarker, a short tandem repeat chimerism analysis software solution marketed by SoftGenetics, are reporting a significant reduction in the time required to analyze STRs in blood samples of patients who have undergone bone marrow transplants.

The tool automates the process of assessing the chimerism ratio the proportion of donor cells relative to the host patients own cells in post-transplant cases based on the presence of STRs that are unique to both the patient and the donor, Don Kristt, head of molecular pathology at the Rabin Medical Center in Israel, explained to BioInform this week.

According to SoftGenetics, the software can be used to monitor chimerism levels in allogeneic and autologous stem cell transplants or hematopoietic stem cell transplants; bone marrow transplants; and cord and peripheral blood stem cell transplant samples.

SoftGenetics partnered with Kristt to develop the software, which it released last March (BI 3/18/2011). The company later added a module for testing fetal samples for maternal cell contamination prior to performing genetic testing for cystic fibrosis or other diseases (BI 9/2/2011).

The software provides capabilities for genotyping and chimerism analysis and tools to automatically identify donor and recipient peaks in samples following bone marrow transplants. It also calculates percent chimerism and quality metrics for single donor or double donor cases.

Dawn Wagenknecht, who supervises the HLA-Vascular Biology Laboratory at Franciscan St. Francis Health, told BioInform this week that her team was able to reduce the time required to calculate the ratio of donor to recipient cells in blood samples by as much as 85 percent.

She explained that the team ran parallel analyses of 10 blood samples using both ChimerMarker and a manual approach that the lab had used prior to purchasing the software, which involved manually sorting data generated by capillary sequencing in Excel spreadsheets, and then calculating the ratios either on the sheet or using a hand calculator.

In addition to the time savings, ChimerMarker also simplifies the analysis process because all the steps of the workflow are in a single package, she said.

The software also maintains records of the donor sample and the patients blood before transplantation so that the results from subsequent tests after transplant can be compared to the initial samples, she said.

Originally posted here:
Labs Report 85 Percent Reduction in STR Analysis Time with SoftGenetics' ChimerMaker Software

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