Challenges in Proteomic Sample Prep
Some of the leading challenges in proteomic sample prep include biological diversity and the nature of proteins, which are subject to changes in the environment like stress and disease. “The set of criteria for managing samples in proteomic environment is very different from DNA, RNA, and classical cellular analysis,” noted Bruce Haywood, business development leader, clinical proteomics, Becton Dickinson (www.bd.com). He explained that the company’s approach is methodical to address the variability issues. “Our approach has been somewhat serial in learning, development, and interaction with customers to make products that improve work flows in proteomics.”
Part of the company’s approach is to develop tools that address broad issues first, Hayward said. Its first product, BD P100 blood collection kit, had a broad protease inhibitor. Offspring products, like the BD Vacutainer® P700 followed. This inhibits an enzyme that attacks GLP1 (glucagen-like peptide 1)—key to understanding the effects of certain drugs and titration.
Another area the company is focusing on is the future of clinical proteomics. “We’re looking at developing or acquiring technology that allows us to control pre-analytical variability.” The recently acquired Free-flow Electrophoresis product allows analysis of peptides, subpeptides, and whole cells. According to Haywood, two hot applications include organelle separations and membrane proteins.
He added that proteomics is difficult because there are so many different technologies to analyze proteins and new bioinformatic methods to relate proteins to RNA/DNA. In addition, the biology is dynamic, and it takes years to develop methods. “With proteomics, you need to be a bit out of the box,” he suggested.
Qiagen(www.qiagen.com) is focusing on enhancing globalization in the research environment. “There is more interaction between researchers and it’s important that processes become standardized,” said Wolfgang Theibinger, Ph.D., global business director, automated systems. “We also see emerging markets in molecular diagnostics, where standardization is key.”