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Duke University Medical Center, Gema Biotech, Paul Allen, Thermo Electron, Praecis Pharma, Zyomyx, German Cancer Research Center


Duke Scientists Identify Lung Cancer Biomarker

Radiologists at the Duke University Medical Center said they have used MALDI-TOF to isolate and identify a known serum biomarker for lung cancer. The marker, serum amyloid A, is elevated in patients with the disease. The study was published in the Sept. issue of Proteomics. The Duke researchers are describing the study as a proof of principle that MALDI can be used effectively to both find and identify disease biomarkers.

“It is useful to know that you have a protein marker for a disease, but it is far more useful to understand the biology of that protein and use that knowledge to develop strategies to combat the disease,” said Edward Patz, a professor of radiology and pharmacology at Duke, and an author on the study.

Gema Annotates Cariovascular Genes as Part of Accelrys Collaboration

Accelrys of San Diego announced this week that collaborator Gema Biotech had used its Discovery Studio proteomics platform for high throughput function annotation to annotate the predictive function of genes involved in cardiovascular disease as a step toward developing a drug lead. The Gema scientists used DS Modeling, DS GeneAtlas, DS AtlasStore and DS MSSearch to do the annotation.

Philanthropist Commits $100M to Brain Research; Project Team Says Brain Atlas Will Lead to Proteomics Map

Philanthropist Paul Allen announced this week that he would commit $100 million to create the non-profit Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle. The Institute’s first project will be to map the functional anatomy of a mouse brain using genomics and neuroscientific methods.

The map will be made into the Allen Brain Atlas, which will be available to the public and will consist of a collection of gene expression maps, brain circuitry, and cell location.

The Atlas will allow for the development of related biochemical maps, including proteomics maps of protein function, and functional imaging maps, according to a statement from Allen.

Thermo Electron Opens Paris Customer Demonstration Center

Thermo Electron announced this week that it had opened a new customer demonstration facility south of Paris in Les Ulis, France.

The French center follows on the heels of a Yokohama, Japan and a Frankfurt center, both of which opened earlier this year. Each center is meant to showcase Thermo Electron’s product integration, and contains a laboratory complete with Thermo-brand chromato-graphy, mass spectrometry, and spectroscopy products, as well as sample preparation and storage equipment and bioinformatics software.

“These demonstration centers are another example of Thermo’s efforts to present one face to our customer base using the single Thermo brand,” Thermo CEO Marijn Dekkers said in a statement.

Praecis Introduces Biomarker Discovery Platform for Endometriosis

Praecis Pharma announced this week that it had used LC-MS-based biomarker discovery platform to develop the foundation for a commercial serum diagnostic test for endometriosis. In addition to developing a diagnostic test based on the technology, the company intends to identify the protein biomarkers that it finds and develop drug targets against them.

Zyomyx Receives Two Biochip Patents

Zyomyx announced last week that the US Patent Office had recently issued the company two biochip patents.

The first, US Patent No. 6,582,969, was issued on June 24 of this year, and the second, US Patent No. 6,596,545 was issued on July 22.

Both cover multiplexed, in vitro screening of biomolecular activity for drug development, clinical diagnostics, and proteomic and genomic research using miniaturized, micro-fabricated chips.

German Scientists Pinpoint New Ovarian Cancer Biomarker

Scientists at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, Germany published findings in this week’s Lancet that described a protein biomarker for uterine and ovarian cancers with poor prognosis.

Peter Altevogt and others found the marker, L1 glycoprotein, using immunological and genotyping profiles of women with ovarian and uterine cancers. Presence of the marker indicates a poor prognosis.

Ovarian cancer has been the focus of several protein biomarker profiling studies over the past two years.

The Scan

New Study Investigates Genomics of Fanconi Anemia Repair Pathway in Cancer

A Rockefeller University team reports in Nature that FA repair deficiency leads to structural variants that can contribute to genomic instability.

Study Reveals Potential Sex-Specific Role for Noncoding RNA in Depression

A long, noncoding RNA called FEDORA appears to be a sex-specific regulator of major depressive disorder, affecting more women, researchers report in Science Advances.

New mRNA Vaccines Offer Hope for Fighting Malaria

A George Washington University-led team has developed mRNA vaccines for malaria that appear to provide protection in mice, as they report in NPJ Vaccines.

Unique Germline Variants Found Among Black Prostate Cancer Patients

Through an exome sequencing study appearing in JCO Precision Oncology, researchers have found unique pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants within a cohort of Black prostate cancer patients.