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Naylor's New Project Brings Plasma Proteomics to Patients

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As he leads his latest systems biology effort in the form of personalized medicine startup Predictive Physiology and Medicine, CEO Stephen Naylor continues to advance the field. Bloomington, Ind.-based PPM offers a health and wellness assessment in the form of a molecular "bioprofile" with an eye toward cornering a baby boomer market already tapped by the personal genomics space. "Systems biology is the cornerstone of our personalized health and wellness assessment," Naylor says. "The network of molecules that form our bioprofile represent the fundamental principles of systems biology."

PPM's process involves taking a blood sample, surveying it for specific, targeted analytes, and returning to the patient a profile that serves as a comprehensive analysis of an individual's molecular status. Taking into account more than 500 measurements to create a readout with eight bioprofiles, the report is a representation of a patient's overall state of health. "It's an integrated platform applying both analytical and informatics assembly tools," says Naylor, noting that the report focuses not just on the measurement of the concentration of individual analytes, but also on how they relate to each other.

The analysis behind the Viveda assessment, Naylor says, is completed using multiple mass spec techniques, such as LC-MS, GC-MS, ICP-MS, and affinity capture platforms. Collaborative work between PPM and Indiana University's David Clemmer in 2006 led to experimental analysis of human plasma samples using ion mobility-mass spectrometry (IMS-MS). While PPM currently doesn't incorporate that approach into its molecular bioprofiling techniques, its R&D arm "continues to explore our interest in using IMS-MS and IMS-MS-MS for high-throughput analysis of clinical samples," Naylor says. "The difference between IMS-MS and other chromatography-MS instruments is speed. Analysis of a complex protein mixture can take three to 20 hours using LC-MS. Analyzing the same sample using IMS-MS takes approximately five minutes." While IMS-MS is used in basic research to discover conformational change, it's "not yet ready for routine clinical analysis," he says.

PPM is in the midst of launching its test, which will be offered under physician oversight; physicians will help explain what the report means, and "more importantly, exactly what the client needs to do in terms of actionable items," Naylor says.

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