This story originally ran on May 12.
Aushon Biosystems said this week that the Van Andel Research Institute's Laboratory of Cancer Immunodiagnostics will use the Aushon 2470 Arrayer to explore protein analysis methods to identify and study protein abnormalities in the blood of cancer patients.
Adoption of the 2470 platform will facilitate use of several novel protein microarray formats that the LCI has developed as part of its research into blood tests that will allow earlier detection and more accurate diagnosis of cancer.
Among the microarray formats the lab will run on the 2470 arrayer are antibody-lectin sandwich arrays, Brian Haab, senior scientific researcher at the LCI, told ProteoMonitor. Developed by Haab, this technique involves incubating a complex biological sample on an array and then probing it with labeled lectins targeting specific glycans.
Haab's research at the LCI focuses on identifying potential protein biomarkers for pancreatic cancer, with a particular focus on detecting and measuring glycosylation of secreted proteins — a task he said antibody arrays like the ALSA are well suited to.
"Most secreted proteins are glycosylated, and that glycosylation can change in various conditions and diseases, so it's useful to be able to measure that glycosylation in a reliable way, in a reproducible way, in a small sample volume and with many samples and on many proteins," he said. "Antibody arrays are nice for doing multiplex analysis. You can get measurement from many molecules in a small sample volume. That's a general advantage."
Haab also noted that many of the technical issues involved in using microarrays for protein analysis have been addressed.
"It's definitely harder than nucleic acids, but a lot of progress has been made," he said. "There are a variety of protein arrays and a number of commercially available antibody arrays now, so I think that a lot of the hurdles have been overcome."
Haab's ALSA system has been developed for commercial use by Madison, Wisc.-based microarray firm Gentel Biosciences under a licensing agreement the company signed with VARI in 2006.
The Gentel ALSA kits are made using arrayers from Scienon, but, Haab said, although he looked at a Scienon arrayer, he opted for the Aushon 2470.
"I think it would work fine, but some of the characteristics I think are just a little bit better with the Aushon," he said. "[The Aushon 2470] seems to be very flexible. I don't think you have much downtime with it because it's pretty simple, and it also has the capability for rapid high-throughput production of arrays. It produces very high-quality, very reproducible, consistent arrays, and it's very reliable."