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LSBC s Andersons Form New Institute to Probe Plasma Proteome

NEW YORK, Aug. 8 - Leigh and Norman Anderson, the father-and-son team behind the proteomics division of Large Scale Biology, have formed a new institute to spur research into diagnostic applications of plasma proteomics.


The Plasma Proteome Institute, formally launched on Tuesday, will work with commercial, clinical, and academic-research partners to develop protein-analysis techniques for the detection of disease.


CEO Leigh Anderson said in an interview with GenomeWeb that he hoped the institute, by linking together different technologies and identifying gaps in research, could speed good ideas toward the marketplace.


"One of the challenges of diagnostics is that advances get introduced relatively slowly," said Anderson. "We have a huge expansion of the knowledge base, but it's not percolating through very quickly. Everybody wants to see that speeded up."


A major barrier in proteomics-based diagnostics, he added, is that many of the pieces necessary to create a viable product are held by different companies with different research strategies.


"Our idea is to survey the alternatives and determine who'd like to participate in a proof of concept to demonstrate that measuring lots of proteins and interpreting those in a diagnostically meaningful way is a tractable commercial goal."


Although Anderson has not yet chosen the institute's first research projects, he said that protein chips were one example of a technology that would benefit from PPI's approach. While the chips are rapidly becoming more sophisticated and powerful, no one company or research group has developed them for routine clinical use. 


"Everybody believes it's possible, but the scope of demonstrating it is too broad for any one organization to take up," he said.


The institute will be run as a non-profit in order to better lubricate the connections between clinical, corporate, and academic-research projects, and look to both government grants and corporate support for funding.


Norman Anderson, the former chief scientist at LSBC, will serve as PPI's senior scientific advisor.


The team chose to focus on proteins in the plasma in the hopes that understanding these dynamics will provide a broad platform for diagnostic applications.


"The hypothesis is that you may be able to get good handle on any and all disease states by looking at protein complement in the blood," said Leigh Anderson. "That's the black box, wave-a-magic-wand ideal."

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