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New biomarker method could increase the number of diagnostic tests for cancer
Date:6/29/2009

f cancer biomarkers are discovered every day, but only a handful ever makes it through clinical validation. This is a critical roadblock because biomarkers have the potential to allow doctors to detect cancer in the earliest stages, when treatment provides the greatest chances of survival," said John E. Niederhuber, M.D., NCI director. "The critical limiting factor to date in validating biomarkers for clinical use has been the lack of standardized technologies and methodologies in the biomarker discovery and validation process, and this research may solve that dilemma."

The collaborative and multi-institute nature of this work was critical because many other technologies have yielded test results that vary greatly from one laboratory to the next. The Clinical Proteomic Technologies for Cancer (CPTC) program was established to help solve this problem. The five institutes that participated in this research as part of the NCI-sponsored CPTAC include the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard, Cambridge, Mass.; Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville, Tenn.; University of California, San Francisco; Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York City.

Proteomics studies interactions between proteins, which often work in a tag-team fashion to send important signals within a cell. Most proteomic technologies have been based on mass spectrometry, a decades-old technology that determines which proteins are in a specimen based on the mass and electric charge of fragments of each protein.

The current biomarker discovery process typically identifies hundreds of candidate biomarkers in each study using small numbers of samples, leading to very high rate of invalid biomarkers. The biomarkers that are actually valid -- that is, true biomarkers -- must be culled from lengthy lists of candidates, a time-consuming and not always accurate process.

The CPTAC center
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Contact: Elizabeth Fernandez
efernandez@pubaff.ucsf.edu
415-476-2557
University of California - San Francisco
Source:Eurekalert

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