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NCI Awards Labcyte $1M to Develop Mass Spec-based Cancer Biomarker Detection Method

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Cancer Institute has awarded Labcyte $1 million to create a process for detecting cancer-associated proteins in samples, the company announced today.

The initial work will be directed at breast cancer and includes researchers from the Canary Center at Stanford University and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

The project leverages Labcyte's acoustic liquid handling technology that the company said enables protein biomarker detection via MALDI mass spectrometry. The method being developed involves stable standards and the use of antibodies to capture biomarkers, and is expected to achieve greater throughput than traditional liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry methods, Labcyte said.

Labcyte will test its approach by analyzing 16 biomarkers run in quadruplicate "to simulate the analysis of 64 unique biomarkers. The process has the potential to expand to a greater number of biomarkers as well," the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based firm said.

"Over the next few years, the Labcyte platform should provide the high-throughput biomarker verification/validation solution that researchers have sought in conjunction with the emergence of clinical proteomics," Mark Stolowitz, director of the proteomics core facility at the Canary Center, said in a statement.

Labcyte said that recent work with the center demonstrated that its method is capable of the higher sensitivity required for quantifying very small amounts of proteins associated with ovarian cancer.