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Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Sage-N Research, AIM, NCI, Ciphergen, Invitrogen, John Wiley & Sons

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Dana-Farber Receives $16.5M Gift to Establish
Proteomics Center; Aims to Improve Mass Specs

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute received a $16.5 million gift from John "Jack" Blais and Shelley Blais, the largest gift from an individual, the institute said this week.

The Cancer Institute will use the money to establish the Blais Proteomics Center, a protein research facility to accelerate Dana-Farber scientists' research on developing proteomic techniques. Jarrod Marto, recently recruited to the institute, will direct the new center.

The institute will purchase new-generation mass spectrometers, recruit scientists, fund a development program to design and improve mass spectrometry technology, and support efforts to design models for high-volume data analysis.

Blais, founder and president of Framingham, Mass.-based holding company BlaisCo, has been a Dana-Farber trustee since 2002.

In a statement, Blais said protein research has the "potential to unlock the mysteries of cancer."

Including this gift, the Blais family has contributed more than $30 million to Dana-Farber to support protein research, such as the High-Tech Multidisciplinary Research Fund.


Sage-N Research to Open R&D Center in
China for Proteomics Informatics Development

Sage-N Research said this week that it will open a research and development center in the New Science Park in Shanghai, China, in "early 2006."

Sage-N, a developer of accelerated proteomics informatics tools, said that the Shanghai center will expand its software-development capabilities. The company's headquarters will remain in San Jose, Calif., and will focus on marketing, sales, and administration.

Sage-N has developed an accelerated analysis appliance called Sorcerer, as well as the Sequest Sorcerer system marketed by Thermo Electron. The company's flagship product, Sorcerer Proteomics Edition, is a high-throughput proteomics analysis system.

The company said that the Shanghai center will "work closely with leading proteomics scientists to quickly and cost effectively incorporate new technologies and applications into the Sorcerer appliance in the form of plug-in modules."

The first modules are expected to eliminate false positive results, provide multiple peptide scoring functions, and offer "extensive" post-translational modification searches, the company said.


AIM Develops Protein Biomarker-based Cancer Dx

Advanced Ideas in Medicine has developed a blood test to diagnose and detect cancer, the company said this week.

The test is designed to identify a series of blood protein biomarkers that could help diagnose cancers such as prostate, colorectal, breast, lung, and ovarian.

The former principals of Predictive Diagnostics launched Advanced Ideas in Medicine as a diagnostics company in July 2005. More information about the company can be found at http://www.ai-medicine.com.


NCI Sets Aside $10M in RFA to Encourage Proteomic Tech Development

The National Cancer Institute intends to commit around $10 million in 2006 to fund approximately 10 new grants as part of its Clinical Proteomic Technologies Initiative, the institute said this week.

In an RFA posted on its web site, the institute invites grant applications for "highly innovative research in the quantitative analysis of proteins and peptides of interest" in clinical cancer studies.

ProteoMonitor reported in October NCI's notice of intent for RFAs for advanced proteomic platforms, analytical methods, and computational sciences.

Titled "Advanced Proteomic Platforms and Computational Sciences for the NCI Clinical Proteomic Technologies Initiative," the RFA has receipt dates in early spring of 2006.

NCI described the technologies initiative as an "integrated approach to develop and enhance proteomic technology capabilities" on its web site.

More information can be found here.


Ciphergen to Develop Breast Cancer Diagnostics

Ciphergen Biosystems said last week that it is developing breast cancer diagnostics based on a "series of discoveries" that have been made using the company's SELDI technology.

Ciphergen cited a study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, published in Clinical Chemistry in 2002, that detailed the discovery of three serum biomarkers that can improve the detection of breast cancer.

"Two out of the three markers have since been identified and validated in further studies that were published this month," the company said in a statement. The markers are named C3a and BC1.

Ciphergen said it plans to expand upon these studies in a collaboration with the University of College London and UCL BioMedica that will analyze samples collected from 200,000 women with breast and ovarian cancer.

Ciphergen did not provide a timeline for the development program.


NCI RFA Offers $3M for Developing Molecular Technologies

The National Cancer Institute allocated nearly $3 million for research on developing cancer-relevant molecular technologies, according to a request for applications published on the National Institutes of Health web site.

NCI said it expects to award between 10 and 15 new and/or competing continuation grants for periods up to two or three years, depending on the award mechanism.

The institute will consider proposals that involve methods and tools to enable research, including instrumentation, techniques, and devices. Molecular technologies are distinct from resources such as databases, individual reagents, therapeutic agents, and tissue repositories, which are not included under this initiative.

The receipt dates for intents are Jan. 23 and April 26. The applications must be received by Feb. 22 and May 26.

More details are available under the title "Innovative Technologies for Molecular Analysis of Cancer" here.


Invitrogen, John Wiley & Sons Pen iProtocol Distribution Deal

Invitrogen has partnered with John Wiley & Sons to distribute its newly launched iProtocol, Invitrogen said this week.

The agreement enables the publisher to provide free access to "selected" Current Protocols lab research manuals.

iProtocol was designed to provide selected content from Current Protocols titles starting with the "most basic" to the "most advanced" methods for molecular biology, cell biology, immunology, and neuroscience, Invitrogen said.

The Scan

Renewed Gain-of-Function Worries

The New York Times writes that the pandemic is renewing concerns about gain-of-function research.

Who's Getting the Patents?

A trio of researchers has analyzed gender trends in biomedical patents issued between 1976 and 2010 in the US, New Scientist reports.

Other Uses

CBS Sunday Morning looks at how mRNA vaccine technology could be applied beyond SARS-CoV-2.

PLOS Papers Present Analysis of Cervicovaginal Microbiome, Glycosylation in Model Archaea, More

In PLOS this week: functional potential of the cervicovaginal microbiome, glycosylation patterns in model archaea, and more.