:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 03-15-2010
Over the last few months we have posted several articles on biomarker research. It seems that wherever you look, people are engaged in biomarker studies and are trying to find biomarkers for one type of condition or another. While the concept of finding biological indicators that can identify those at risk of developing pathogenic processes or individuals who respond favorably to a given therapeutic is the ultimate goal of biomarker research, it is questionable whether scientist are indeed engaging in biomarker research as intended.
According to D. Martins-de-Souza from the Max Plank Institute of Psychiatry, Proteomics and Biomarkers in Germany, the use of the word “biomarker” has increased exponentially in recent years. A Pubmed search of the term “biomarker” returns more than 470,000 articles published within the last 10-15 years.
Is the overuse (misuse?) of the word biomaker harmful to proteomic researchers? Must reviewers insist that the strict definition of the word biomarker as defined by the US Food and Drug Administration be adhered to when publishing in peer reviewed journals? Or am I just a pedantic nut?!?
:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 03-08-2010
Plasma and Serum are often used in biomarker discovery studies because they are easy to obtain from patients and are readily available. The biggest challenge with using these sources in biomarker studies is the HUGE overexpression of approximately 20 predominant proteins such as heat shock proteins and albumin (to name a few) which represent about 99% of the total protein mass. Since most analytical technologies are incapable of resolving expression levels over more than 5 orders of magnitude, proteins with low expression levels (which are most likely to be viable candidates for biomarker studies since differences in their expression levels between normal and diseased states are more easily resolved) are often masked and difficult to detect.
Unfortunately, many of the technologies available which aid in biomarker discovery rely on the depletion of high abundance proteins which often ends up depleting low abundant proteins as well thereby “throwing out the baby with the bathwater.”
Bio-Rad has recently launched a new and innovative method for resolving differences in low abundant proteins using a unique quantitative enrichment technology.
In the article “Quantitation of Serum and Plasma Proteins After Enrichment of Low-Abundance Proteins With the ProteoMiner Protein Enrichment System” you will discover how Proteominer is the ideal technology for anyone using serum or plasma for biomarker discovery.
:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 02-18-2010
Following fast on the heels of last week’s publication that a multiplex bead array technique (AKA Bioplex) had been used to discover biomarkers that predict the onset of Rheumatoid Arthritis, a group in Germany has published a study using the same technology (BioPlex) to study the effects of ERBITUX sensitivity and resistance on cell surface receptor activation in certain cancer types.
The authors conclude that Bio-Plex phosphoprotein assays, in combination with Oncotest’s patient-derived tumor xenograft lysates, can be used by researchers to probe deeper into the mechanisms of cancer therapeutics.
The paper is definitely recommended for anyone involved in the field of biomarker research
:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 02-11-2010
CNN recently reported on a simple blood test that may allow doctors to identify a debilitating form of arthritis years before any symptoms appear, which may help to stop the disease in its tracks. The study, published in the February issue of Arthritis and Rheumatism found that markers of inflammation that can be detected in the bloodstream rise long before symptoms of the disease. Using Bio-Rad’s Bioplex and cytokine multiplex bead array, Kokkonen et al. were able to analyze 30 different cytokines and predict with 86 percent accuracy the individuals who would ultimately develop rheumatoid arthritis.
Gone are the days of singleplex ELISAs. Scientists and medical professionals are now acutely aware of the multifactorial nature of disease and the importance of looking at multiple biomarkers to accurately assess biological conditions. Single biomarkers have been found to be largely unpredictable and irrelevant. “Omics” is now the name of the game and the ability to analyze several indicators at once in the appropriate context using analytical tools such as the bioplex will serve to enhance the power of our research and further our understanding of biological processes.
:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 01-26-2010
While we’re on the topic of electrophoresis…
A new technique that combines the best of western blotting and microarrays was just published by University of Chicago scientists in today’s issue of Nature Methods. The new assay is capable of examining hundreds of proteins at once enabling new experiments that could dramatically change our understanding of cancer and other diseases.
see the University of Chicago website for full details
If you have any other cool electrophoresis protocols send them our way and we’d be happy to post them right here on the american biotechnologist.