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Protea, Yale Ink License Agreement for Melanoma Test

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Protea Biosciences has licensed a mass spectrometry-based technology from Yale University aimed at improving diagnosis of melanoma.

The Morgantown, West Virginia-based firm is developing a test that will use proteomic mass spec imaging (MSI), pioneered by Yale Dermatology Professor Rossitza Lazova and Protea's Erin Seeley.

According to the partners, the imaging technology allows researchers to identify hundreds of specific proteins in tissue, which can help distinguish between cancerous melanomas and benign moles, also called melanocytic nevi.

"The identification of protein expression profiles, which discriminate between benign melanocytic nevi and malignant melanomas, has led to the discovery of a set of clinically useful tumor biomarkers that can be incorporated into standard diagnostic and treatment strategies," Lazova said in a statement.

Melanoma is the fifth most common cancer in men and the sixth most in women. The National Cancer Institute estimates more than 70,000 Americans will be diagnosed with the disease every year. Biopsies can rule out melanoma, but approximately 25 percent are indeterminate.

Scientists from Yale and Protea presented results of a clinical study in October 2015 at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Dermatopathology, demonstrating that their proteomic mass spec imaging technology had sensitivity and specificity of 99 percent, correctly classifying all cases as either malignant melanoma or benign moles.