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HUPO Settles on Plasma as its First Proteome Project; Appoints Its First Committee Chairs

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The Human Proteome Organization will embark on an initial project to coordinate an international effort to identify all the proteins in human serum, HUPO president Sam Hanash said last week at the organization’s second annual meeting in San Diego.

The fledgling organization, which plans to incorporate itself as a non-profit in the next few weeks, has chosen to focus on a plasma project because of its “tremendous relevance” to human disease, the potential for the resulting data to serve as a standard, and because the project is amenable to multiple proteomics technologies, Hanash said in a talk to a crowd of several hundred assembled at the Hilton San Diego Resort on Mission Bay.

Although the parameters of the project remain fluid, Hanash said a plasma proteome initiative could serve as a trial run for future, larger projects, and as a common focal point for the community of proteomics researchers. “No one company has the resources to do this,” he said in a planning session prior to the meeting. “There could be a number of different funding agencies [supporting the project],“ as long as the data is made publicly available.”

HUPO is also planning a public forum to be held on the NIH campus in April to solicit comment from public and private researchers interested in participating in a coordinated initiative, Hanash said. That forum would follow a similar meeting in October, also held at NIH.

Hanash added that HUPO will hold its first independent conference in November of this year, at a conference center in the Palais des Congrés in Versailles, France. The first and second meetings were sponsored by Cambridge Healthtech Institute, a for-profit organizer of biotech conferences.

In order to carry out its mission to provide training and disseminate proteomics knowledge — in addition to coordinating public/private initiatives — HUPO has created several committees, headed by inaugural members of the HUPO council. Julio Celis, a researcher at the Danish Cancer Society, will chair the meetings committee; Matthias Mann, chief proteomics officer of MDS Proteomics, will lead the informatics committee; Richard Simpson, a researcher at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, will chair the technology and resources committee; and Ian Humphery-Smith, chief operating officer of Glaucus Proteomics, will lead the business development committee. — JSM

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