Thursday, August 7, 2014

Proteomics reveals awesome new biomarkers

Sorry, I know.  That is super gross.  But I'm going for impact in my first post since my awesome technology-free vacation (rock climbing all over Appalachia!  wooo!)

A criticism I hear of proteomics is the lack of true results in the actual clinic.  We can hotly contest that one, obviously, but that doesn't stop people from saying it.  I love it when I can have a study in my back pocket to point people to that says "proteomics did THIS."

That's why this study in this month's journal Cancer is so awesome.  Proteomics did THIS.  Validated biomarker panel to detect cancer in the esophagus.  In the clinic.  Now.

The study I'm talking about is here and came from researchers in the Allegheny Health Network in Pennsylvania in conjunction with some researchers in Buffalo.  Interestingly, this is yet another group I've ran into in the last month or so that is successfully using spectral counting -- maybe its coincidental, but it is really starting to look like this approach is making a major comeback.  Something I really want to evaluate on today's super fast instruments (at Fusion speeds, can we get both sample depth and quantitative dynamic range? Maybe...again, thoughts for later!)

Are the approaches revolutionary?  Not really.  The samples are really cool.  The math is good (by that, I mean good use of statistics!) and ELISA validation means that you can rapidly move from a proteomics observation right into a good molecular lab in the clinic.  And even cooler that this study didn't go to MCP, but went right into Cancer!  (No offense, MCP, but as a biologist I'd much rather read a great proteomics study in a biology journal...)  Great example for the haters out there!

BTW, this study is getting lots of press.  You can read more about it here.

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