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Thermo Fisher Extends Collaborations to Validate Protein Biomarkers, Build SRM-based Assays

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This story originally ran on March 25.

Thermo Fisher Scientific this week said it is extending collaborations with three universities for the verification and validation of protein biomarkers for cancer and other diseases.

The lengths of the extensions were not disclosed.

The collaborators involved are George Mason University's Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine, headed by Lance Liotta and Emanuel Petricoin; Johns Hopkins University, headed by Daniel Chan; and Toronto's University Health Network, led by Eleftherios Diamandis.

The collaborations center on targeted single-reaction monitoring-based workflows created by Thermo Fisher's Biomarker Research Initiatives in Mass Spectrometry Center for the development of mass spec-based assays and for cross-validating biomarkers across different laboratories.

For the past two years, the three universities have used Thermo Fisher's TSQ Quantum Ultra triple quadrupole mass spec systems to validate putative biomarkers and develop assays.

“Working together, the BRIMS Center and the collaborators demonstrated an instrument platform and an end-to-end workflow from sample preparation through data analysis that are easily and reproducibly transferred from laboratory to laboratory,” Mary Lopez, director of the BRIMS Center, said in a statement.

Lopez added that the extended collaborations will enable the teams to "apply the SRM-based workflow to previously validated clinical biomarkers.”

At the recent US Human Proteome Organization meeting in Denver, members of the collaboration presented results from what Thermo Fisher said is the first study "to demonstrate reproducible determination of protein abundance in a complex matrix such as blood." The study, it added, also showed that an optimized biomarker assay can be implemented relatively quickly across several labs without additional optimization.

BRIMS, opened in late 2004, initially focused on developing technologies for biomarker discovery, but with a shift in emphasis in proteomics from biomarker discovery to quantitation and application of the science to the clinical world, the center changed its focus three years ago to validating biomarkers and developing clinically applicable assays [See PM 04/12/07].

Since then, BRIMS has forged numerous collaborations with universities and commercial partners.

In December, BRIMS announced a partnership using Expression Pathology's sample-preparation technology for formalin-fixed paraffin embedded tissue to develop single-reaction monitoring assays [See PM 12/18/09].

Last spring, BRIMS and NextGen Sciences said they would be working together to apply Thermo Fisher's newest technologies. Part of that collaboration includes use of the TSQ Vantage by NextGen to verify various protein biomarkers using SRM methods to develop assays [See PM 06/04/09].

This week, Iain Mylchreest, Thermo Fisher's vice president and general manager of life science mass spectrometry called the extension of BRIMS collaboration with the three universities a step forward in bringing proteomics to the clinical setting.

“By delivering reproducible, quantitative verification and validation of protein biomarkers in a clinical research setting, the researchers are now that much closer to their goal of developing tests for cancer.”

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