NEW YORK, April 8 - Protein biomarker company LumiCyte says that its SELDI-based protein-chip system can now easily identify more than a thousand proteins in human serum.
Traditional techniques like 1-D or 2-D gels generally can distinguish only a few hundred spots from unfractionated serum, said LumiCyte CEO William Hutchens. The LumiCyte system, by contrast, can map more than 1,500 distinct protein "features" from serum, each representing one or more individual protein.
"Unfractionated serum is terribly complex, and characterized by having a couple of proteins, like albumen, that are hugely abundant," said Hutchens. "To make routine maps of human serum proteins with the number of features over 1,000 is a significant accomplishment, especially with a low-cost, scalable biochip."
The company's chips are developed using Surface-Enhanced Laser Desorption/Ionization technology. Because proteins are identified with SELDI only after being attached to the chip surface, the technology eases protein extraction and separation problems, and can be adapted to identify new proteins as well as familiar ones.
LumiCyte aims to produce a comprehensive map of human serum proteins, and make this expertise available to partners in clinical research.
Clinicians at LumiCyte partner Baylor College of Medicine have begun testing these biomarkers in the clinical setting in the hopes of developing new diagnostic methods for breast, ovarian, and prostate cancers. Hutchens said that LumiCyte was not yet ready to announce any findings from this work.
Rival Ciphergen said today that it had successfully used its SELDI system to identify biomarkers for ovarian cancer. The two companies, which are in a lawsuit over the rights to this technology, are both working to improve SELDI-based protein affinity chip systems.