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Posted: August 18, 2008
Biochemist starts search for biomarker proteins in the secreted fluids of cancer cell lines
(Nanowerk News) Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. today announced a landmark collaboration between its Thermo Fisher Scientific Biomarker Research Initiatives in Mass Spectrometry (BRIMS) Center and the University Health Network (UHN) in Toronto to explore uncharted areas in biomarker research. Led by Eleftherios Diamandis, M.D., Ph.D., the project team in Toronto will use Thermo Fisher Scientific’s powerful mass spectrometers, in collaboration with the BRIMS Center research team, in a first-of-its-kind effort to target proteins in cancer cells.
“A central goal of the Thermo Fisher BRIMS Center is to enable and participate in groundbreaking proteomics research that holds promise to make new, potentially lifesaving, discoveries,” said Marc N. Casper, chief operating officer of Thermo Fisher Scientific. “Dr. Diamandis and his team believe they can make a difference in the outcome of cancer patients within the next five years, and we're honored to play a part in unlocking that discovery.”
Using Thermo Scientific LTQ Orbitrap™ and Thermo Scientific Quantum Ultra™ mass spectrometry systems, Dr. Diamandis will be the first biochemist to search for biomarker proteins in the secreted fluids of cancer cell lines. He believes this innovative approach will accelerate the validation of biomarkers, targeted assays and, ultimately, the implementation of a reliable blood test for cancers such as breast and colon, among others.
“Our talented team is focused on making advancements in biomarker testing by looking in the most logical place, cancer cell lines,” said Dr. Diamandis, biochemist-in-chief at University Health Network. “We expect to find important clues locked inside those proteins. The quest to validate biomarkers is complex and challenging, but also a critical frontier in science. The day that doctors can discover the presence of cancer through a drop of patient’s blood will mark a revolutionary victory against a disease that takes 20,000 lives every day. We hope our work will make this reality arrive sooner.”
The BRIMS Center and UHN will also maintain a “cross-validation” workflow for the duration of the project to help legitimize new biomarkers that have been validated in Toronto. After the UHN team validates a cancer biomarker, they will send it to the BRIMS Center, which is also equipped with a Thermo Scientific Quantum Ultra mass spectrometer, for a second validation.
With more than 20 years of experience in cancer diagnostics, Dr. Diamandis is recognized around the world as a leading researcher in cancer biomarkers. In addition to his position at UHN, Dr. Diamandis is division head of clinical biochemistry in the department of laboratory medicine and pathobiology at the University of Toronto in Ontario.
The Thermo Fisher BRIMS Center, located in Cambridge, Mass., opened in 2004 with a mission to support the development of methodologies and applications for protein biomarker identification. Equipped with a full complement of Thermo Scientific mass spectrometers and staffed by a team of scientists with expertise in mass spectrometry, protein techniques and informatics, the BRIMS Center also develops leading software tools for proteomics research.