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National Cancer Institute Awards Labcyte $1 Million for Novel High-Throughput Cancer Biomarker Detection

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Labcyte Inc., the acoustic dispensing company, has been awarded $1 million to create an innovative process to detect cancer-related proteins in samples, with initial work in breast cancer detection. The unsurpassed precision and accuracy of Labcyte acoustic liquid handling enables biomarker detection by measuring multiple proteins with a MALDI mass spectrometer.

Recent work with the Canary Center at Stanford, also supported by the National Cancer Institute, showed the ability to achieve the sensitivity required for quantifying very small amounts of proteins associated with ovarian cancer. Measuring the amount of multiple proteins, and at lower cost, is an essential step in developing new diagnostic tools for disease treatment and monitoring.

This cutting-edge process encompasses stable standards and capture of biomarkers with antibodies and expects to achieve greater throughput than traditional liquid chromatography-mass spectrometric approaches. The utility of this technique will be tested by simultaneously analyzing 16 different 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. It may enable significant advances in diagnostics and discovery.

“I am particularly enthusiastic about participating with Labcyte on the further development of their protein multiplexed biomarker detection platform,” said Dr. Mark Stolowitz, Director of the Proteomics Core Facility at the Canary Center at Stanford for Cancer Early Detection. “This novel immunoaffinity mass spectrometry based approach exploits MALDI-TOF-MS for detection of proteotypic peptides. The platform affords sensitivity comparable to that of triple-quad mass spectrometers while providing significantly greater throughput and better precision than that obtainable from LC-MS/MS based approaches. 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.”

In addition to working with the Canary Center, the Labcyte project includes collaboration with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington.

“We are excited to work with Dr. Stolowitz to explore the potential advantages of the Labcyte platform to increase the throughput beyond that of existing immuno-MRM assays,” said Dr. Amanda Paulovich, an associate member of the Clinical Research Division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

“Better identification and quantification of multiple biomarkers are critical tools for researchers and clinicians to fight cancer and a wide variety of other diseases,” said Rich Ellson, CTO of Labcyte. “The unique, revolutionary aspects of acoustic dispensing are essential for the process. We are eager to work with Dr. Stolowitz and Dr. Paulovich, as this could become fundamental for biomarker development.”

This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Health and Human Services under Contract No. HHSN261201300089C.

Source: Business Wire