Somalogic last week published in PLoS One a study offering the first data on use of its aptamer-based Somascan platform in tissue samples.
The study compared protein expression signatures of non small-cell lung cancer tissue with healthy and adjacent tissues and identified the 36 proteins exhibiting the largest expression differences between matched tumor and non-tumor tissues. Of these, 13 proteins were not previously associated with the NSCLC.
While Somalogic currently has a serum-based test for NSCLC under development (PM 12/10/2010), CEO Larry Gold told ProteoMonitor this week that the study was done not so much to aid work on that test as to identify possible targets for therapeutic intervention and to investigate the usefulness of the company's Somamer reagents as probes for histochemistry.
The effort was launched in collaboration with University of Washington pathologist Geoffrey Baird – one of the paper's authors – who, Gold said, the company has worked with "on trying to use the [Somamer] reagents we're making for pathology."
In the study, the researchers used Somamers as histochemical probes for several targets in frozen NSCLC tumor tissue including thrombospondin-2 and MRC1, finding that the Somamer staining results matched that of conventional antibody-based probes.
The company has had less success using Somamers for immunohistochemistry in formalin fixed tissue, Gold said. "We think that's because the proteins in a classic pathology tissue block have essentially been denatured by the processing."
"Our reagents aren't good for those kinds of fixed preparations," he said, but, he added, "all the Somamers that we've tried in fresh frozen sections have worked beautifully. So we're thinking about whether there is a value to making them available to pathologists."
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