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AB SCIEX Proteomics Scientist Wins HUPO 2013 Science and Technology Award

The Human Proteome Organization (HUPO) recently awarded Christie Hunter, Ph.D, director of proteomics applications at AB SCIEX, its 2013 Science and Technology Award at an award ceremony during last week’s HUPO 2013 conference in Japan. Dr. Hunter was recognized for her contributions to the development and commercialization of a breakthrough approach for targeted proteomics. The analytical strategy of targeted proteomics was recently named “Method of the Year” by Nature Methods.

Targeted proteomics is a standardized, biological research workflow that focuses on reproducibly quantifying a specific subset of proteins within a sample. It generates data that is vital for biologists to answer hypothesis-driven, biological questions.

A decade ago, proteomics research was dominated by discovery workflows, which provided valuable information on a single sample but lacked the reproducibility to generate robust quantitation across a larger sample set. New innovation was needed at the time to move the field beyond simply producing large lists of identified proteins and toward providing highly quantitative answers.

This led to the development of a multiple reaction monitoring (MRM)-triggered, tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) workflow at AB SCIEX to rapidly create high sensitivity MRM assays to target peptides that are unique to their associated proteins. This workflow was made possible by the combination of triple quadrupole and linear ion trap functionality in a single system called the AB SCIEX QTRAP® System.

Dr. Hunter ‒ in collaboration with researcher Dr. Leigh Anderson, the founder of the Plasma Proteome Institute and head of SISCAPA Assay Technologies ‒ pioneered a workflow that applied MRM to the targeted quantification of proteins and peptides in plasma by mass spectrometry. In their initial publication[1], Dr. Hunter and Dr. Anderson demonstrated that a targeted workflow could be applied to multiplexed quantitation of proteins in human plasma with high reproducibility and high confidence in the results.

The impact of the paper resulted in broad adoption of the MRM technique around the world to accelerate the verification and validation of putative protein biomarkers, generating more than 800 citations, according to Google Scholar. Less than a decade after this important work, most proteomics laboratories today use a triple quadrupole-based mass spectrometer to perform MRM analysis.

“We congratulate Dr. Christie Hunter on receiving such a prestigious award from HUPO in recognition of her significant contributions to the rise of targeted proteomics as a viable technique to advance biomarker research,” said Dave Hicks, Vice President and General Manager of the Pharmaceutical and Academic Business at AB SCIEX.

“Dr. Hunter and her AB SCIEX colleagues continue to participate in exciting collaborations with leading proteomics researchers around the world to drive new innovations in software, chemistries and instrumentation that further expand quantitative proteomics workflows for the growing community of mass spectrometry users at large,” added Hicks.

Currently, Dr. Hunter is playing a pivotal role in the development of higher specificity workflows for targeted protein quantitation to overcome situations where sensitivity is limited by interferences or background. She is involved in the investigation of the utility of differential mobility separations for added selectivity of quantitation of peptides in complex mixtures. She is also working to enhance data-independent acquisition strategies, such as SWATHTM Acquisition, for quantitative proteomics to increase the multiplexing and reproducibility that can be achieved in a single experiment.

Source: AB SCIEX

Quest Diagnostics Launches New Molecular Test Panel for Enhanced Thyroid Cancer Detection

Quest Diagnostics (NYSE: DGX), the world’s leading provider of diagnostic testing, information and services, today announced a new molecular test panel designed to help physicians determine if a thyroid gland is cancerous and requires surgical removal. The test is believed to be the most comprehensive panel clinically available to identify mutations associated with four gene markers indicated by the American Thyroid Association for the clinical management of indeterminate thyroid biopsies.

Metabolon’s Vitamin D Deficiency Test Now Available for Patient Analysis

Metabolon, Inc., the leader in metabolomics, biomarker discovery and biochemical analysis, announced today that it is now offering a tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS) test for detection of Vitamin D deficiency. The test is being run in Metabolon’s high-complexity CLIA registered laboratory in Research Triangle Park, NC. This test is available for patient testing.

Immunodepletion Followed by LC-MS/MS is Best for Serum-based Clinical Discovery Biomarkers

The discovery of human serum or plasma biomarkers is hindered by the presence of highly abundant proteins that may mask many low abundant species that have clinical value. A recent study in the journal Proteomics systematically compared immunodepletion of 6, 14 or 20 proteins using serum from renal transplant patients and analyzed reproducibility, depth of coverage, efficiency and specificity on two analytical platforms: 2-D differential gel electrophoresis (DIGE) (‘top-down’) and liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) (‘bottom-up’).