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GEN News Highlights : Nov 20, 2013

Labcyte Wins $1M NCI Award to Improve Cancer Biomarker Detection

Labcyte has been awarded $1 million by the National Cancer Society (NCI) to develop a process to detect cancer-related proteins, with initial work in breast cancer detection. Work on the process was started two years ago, when the NCI provided a $196K grant to support Labcyte’s collaboration with the Canary Center at Stanford University. This collaboration has showed that the process can achieve the sensitivity required for quantifying very small amounts of proteins associated with ovarian cancer.

The process relies on Labcyte’s acoustic liquid handling technology, which enables biomarker detection and the measurement of multiple proteins by combining an immunoaffinity-based protein capture with MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry. The ultimate goal for the process is to improve the identification and quantification of multiple proteins, at lower cost.

The process promises to achieve greater throughput than traditional liquid chromatography-mass spectrometric approaches. It will be tested by simultaneously analyzing 16 different biomarkers, run in quadruplicate, to simulate the analysis of 64 unique biomarkers. The process has the potential to expand to a greater number of biomarkers, enabling advances in diagnostics and discovery.

“Over the next few years, the Labcyte platform should provide the high-throughput biomarker verification/validation solution that researchers have sought in conjunction with the emergence of clinical proteomics.” said Mark Stolowitz, Ph.D., director of the Proteomics Core Facility at the Canary Center at Stanford for Cancer Early Detection.

In addition to working with the Canary Center on the project, Labcyte has been collaborating with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington. “We are excited to work with Dr. Stolowitz to explore the potential advantages of the Labcyte platform to increase the throughput beyond that of existing immuno-MRM assays,” said Amanda Paulovich, M.D., Ph.D., an associate member of the Clinical Research Division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.