Monday, May 15, 2017

Quantifying proteins in dried blood spots after decades of storage!

...and now for something completely different!

I just find this one all-around interesting. First of all -- how did they find blood spots from newborns that were 40 years old?!? Is this a commonly acquired and stored in normal clinical practice? If so, what a potential resource!

The paper is an analysis of the feasibility of large scale sample biobanks using blood spots dried on paper. If you were going to set up a biobank, this would be a cheap and easy way to do it. Finger prick, drop of blood on paper, store it.

To study the stability of the proteins they use an immunoassay technology called Proximity Extension (PEA) and assess 92 proteins across samples going back as far as 50 years (I think I remember it saying 50 years in the paper somewhere) and look at different storage and acquisition techniques. A large number of the proteins appear to be genuinely unaffected by degradation over time. Another population of proteins, however, appears to decline with almost predictable half-lives. I don't have time today to read up on this PEA thing, but it appears to be an established technique despite the lack of a Wikipedia page on it.

1) Impressed these resources might exist commonly out there in the world for analysis
2) Ultra-impressed that you can quantify proteins 30/40/50 years down the road from them!

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