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Last updated on April 21, 2014 at 8:55 EDT

SomaLogic Publishes Proteomic Biomarker Analysis Of Lung Cancer Tissue Samples

April 12, 2012

SOMAscan technology identifies significant protein expression level differences in tumors vs. adjacent non-cancerous tissue, confirming known biomarkers and discovering new ones

In a scientific paper published today in the journal PLoS ONE, researchers from SomaLogic and the University of Washington in Seattle describe the first application of the SOMAscanTM proteomic assay technology to tissue samples. Working with both tumor and non-cancerous lung samples from patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), they identified significant expression changes in 36 proteins, including 13 proteins not previously associated with the disease. These findings reveal significant new information about the biology underlying NSCLC, and have implications for improving early diagnosis and treatment.

“Early detection of NSCLC can dramatically improve the prognosis for patients with the disease, as has been shown recently through the use of CT-scans in a high-risk population of heavy smokers,” said Sheri Wilcox, Ph.D., Director of Discovery Sciences at SomaLogic. “However, this approach has a high false-positive rate, which can result in overdiagnosis and unnecessary treatment. We set out to find additional molecular ‘biomarkers’ that would help guide both the use of imaging techniques as well as choosing appropriate treatments.”

In their study, the researchers found 36 protein biomarkers that showed significant expression differences between the tumor tissue and non-cancerous lung tissue samples taken from the same patients. These potential biomarkers were discovered by simultaneously measuring the expression levels of 820 different proteins in all samples examined, using SomaLogic’s SOMAscan proteomic assay. Of these 36 potential biomarkers, thirteen had not previously been associated with NSCLC, providing new biological insights into the disease as well as suggesting potential new therapeutic targets.

In addition to the NSCLC protein biomarker discovery, the scientists also demonstrate the utility of the protein-binding reagents used in SOMAscan for direct visualization of protein expression in tissue sections using standard histopathology techniques. SOMAmer (Slow Off-rate Modified Aptamer) binding reagents bind their respective proteins in a manner similar to–and as effective as–antibodies, but unlike antibodies they can be used in highly multiplexed applications to look at expression differences across thousands of proteins in a single experiment. And as demonstrated in the PLoS ONE paper, SOMAmers can also be used as individual tissue probing agents for pathology studies.

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