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Biodesign researchers to develop new reagent pipeline for molecular medicine
Date:10/24/2011

An ongoing Arizona State University effort to develop a revolutionary class of reagents that holds great promise for the future of medicine has received a major boost with a three-year, $4 million award from the National Institutes of Health.

Scientists John Chaput and Joshua LaBaer in the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University will lead a new initiative to develop a state-of-the-art pipeline for generating synthetic affinity reagents called "DNA synbodies." The vision is to develop an automated pipeline that will produce low-cost affinity reagents for the entire human proteome, which is the complete ensemble of proteins found in humans.

"Creating a new class of reagents to recognize all of the proteins that are made in our bodies is the next grand challenge in molecular medicine," said ASU professor John Chaput. "The majority of the proteins encoded in our genes have functions that remain unknown. We are making synthetic, affinity reagents to allow for the global study of protein function and how this contributes to disease."

"Proteins provide the verbs to biology; they build, modify, degrade, fold, transport, amplify, proofread, regulate, and the list goes on," said Joshua LaBaer, director of the institute's Virginia G. Piper Center for Personalized Diagnostics. "Most disease is the result of protein dysfunction and nearly all therapeutics target proteins. Nearly all of our methods for studying protein function, as well as for identifying proteins as diagnostics, rely upon the use of specific affinity reagents."

LaBaer points out that the future of medicine will depend on our ability to monitor an individual's health status using personalized diagnostics that will accurately measure proteins as indicators of disease, called biomarkers.

With seed funding from Science Foundation Arizona and the National Cancer Institute, Chaput has developed, characterized and validated the DNA synbody concept. Now, b
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Contact: Joe Caspermeyer
joseph.caspermeyer@asu.edu
480-727-0369
Arizona State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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Biodesign researchers to develop new reagent pipeline for molecular medicine
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