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VBI researchers develop new method for breast cancer biomarker discovery
Date:6/9/2009

Blacksburg, Va. -- Three researchers from the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) at Virginia Tech have developed and evaluated a new one-step bioanalytical approach that allows them to profile in detail complex cellular extracts of proteins. The method has allowed the scientists to look at how the levels of proteins change in breast cancer cells when they are treated with hormones or cancer drugs like tamoxifen.

VBI Assistant Professor Iuliana Lazar, along with VBI Professor Ina Hoeschele and VBI Postdoctoral Associate Jenny Armenta, developed the method*, which uses proteomic technologies for fast biomarker fingerprinting in complex cellular extracts. The goal of biomarker discovery and screening is to identify changes in the levels of key proteins in the cell in response to the onset or development of a disease. The scientific community has invested extensive efforts into the development of methods that would allow for the sensitive screening of large panels of biomarkers, instead of just one at a time. This type of research promises to advance the capabilities of such techniques for early cancer detection, which could significantly reduce the mortality rate from diseases like cancer.

At the heart of the new method are three innovative developments A data acquisition strategy that permits analysis of different cell states and replicates; an advanced way to filter or process the data; and a novel statistical method that allows the experimental data to be checked and their relevance confirmed. The team used the method for proteomic profiling of MCF-7 breast cancer cells cultured in estradiol, a steroid hormone, and tamoxifen, a non-steroidal drug commonly prescribed in hormonal breast cancer therapy.

The work resulted in the identification of 16 differentially expressed proteins, which demonstrated the effectiveness of the method for biomarker discovery and also allowed for the establishment of a link between the proteins and
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Contact: Susan Bland
subland@vbi.vt.edu
540-231-7912
Virginia Tech
Source:Eurekalert

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