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Posted: June 4, 2009

Collaboration Between Biomarker Specialists to Develop New Services

(Nanowerk News) Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., a world leader in serving science, today announced a collaboration between its Biomarker Research Initiatives in Mass Spectrometry (BRIMS) Center and NextGen Sciences the biomarker specialists providing discovery, assay development and testing services. Under the collaboration arrangement, the BRIMS Center will work with NextGen Sciences to apply new technologies to NextGen Sciences' biomarkerexpress platform, a suite of biomarker services for developing, validating and applying targeted SRM assays for peptides and proteins in biofluids and tissues.
The collaboration will include providing NextGen Sciences with access to state-of-the-art Thermo Scientific mass spectrometry technology, which the company will add to its existing Thermo Scientific-based workflow. The biomarkerexpress workflow presently includes the following technologies and software for the biomarker discovery phase: Thermo Scientific LTQ Orbitrap XL mass spectrometer, Thermo Scientific SIEVE software for label-free differential analysis, and Thermo Scientific Proteome Discoverer software. The Thermo Scientific TSQ Quantum Ultra triple stage quadrupole mass spectrometer and Thermo Scientific Pinpoint software are employed for development and testing of panels of potential new biomarkers.
"We were diligent in our search for best-in-class instrumentation. While we were putting in place the infrastructure for our biomarker services it was important that we looked for reliable and accurate instruments, and Thermo Scientific technology was found to be just that," said Dr. Michael Pisano, CEO of NextGen Sciences. "In concert with our expertise at NextGen Sciences, Thermo Scientific technology delivers the highest quality results to our customers. The combination of Orbitrap technology and triple quad capability enables NextGen Sciences to go from discovery or named proteins to a single or multi-protein assay in a very short timeframe."
Ongoing Collaboration
NextGen Sciences has been working closely with BRIMS over the past year to develop an assay to verify osteoarthritis (OA) biomarker candidates in synovial fluid. The putative biomarkers were discovered in previous work performed at Harvard Medical School and Case Western Reserve University. The OA biomarker panel is currently being tested at NextGen Sciences on a 1,000-patient sample cohort provided by Harvard Medical School.
NextGen Sciences has already developed and continues to develop assays for verifying protein biomarker panels that can be implemented immediately on the Thermo Scientific TSQ Vantage triple stage quadrupole. These include: a 29-protein biomarker panel in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) for Alzheimer's disease, a 20-protein biomarker panel in urine for prostate cancer, a 10-protein biomarker panel in plasma for colon cancer, a 10-protein biomarker panel in urine for pancreatic cancer, a Her2 biomarker panel in tissue, and the assay developed in collaboration with BRIMS for verifying the presence of OA biomarker candidates in synovial fluid.
"NextGen Sciences is carrying out very advanced work with respect to the development of assays targeting protein biomarker candidates in human matrices, such as CSF, plasma and tissue," said Dr. Mary Lopez, director of the BRIMS Center. "The company has the infrastructure and expertise necessary to develop and apply peptide assays in a commercial CRO setting in a reproducible and robust way. Above all, NextGen Sciences has a track record for delivering the highest quality data to the client, meeting short deadlines and providing excellent support through all stages of its research projects."
Developing protein biomarker assays as a service Historically, immunoassays have been used to monitor levels of putative protein biomarkers in samples. While these assays provide high quality data, the development of multiplexed, quantitative protein assays has been a bottleneck in protein biomarker research for many years.
NextGen Sciences has broken this bottleneck by developing protein biomarker assays using mass spectrometry-based SRM (multiple reaction monitoring, also known as selected reaction monitoring). SRM has been used for over 20 years to monitor small molecule concentrations. In peptide SRM, proteotypic (unique) peptides from protein biomarker candidates are monitored. Availability of reproducible assays has been a major barrier for biomarker research and development. The biomarker assay development pipeline at NextGen Sciences is iterative and can handle large numbers of proteins, permitting investigators to empirically validate and select all of their biomarkers.
Source: Thermo Fisher Scientific (press release)
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