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Research expected to accelerate biomarker discoveries

Thermo Fisher Scientific is to provide novel protein research products to the Institute for Systems Biology, supporting a two-year project to map the human proteome that is expected to accelerate biomarker discovery and advance personalized medicine.

The project, known as the Human Proteome MRMAtlas, will generate a database of information to enable the targeted analysis of almost any of the estimated 25,000 proteins encoded by human genes through a mass spectrometry technique known as multiple- or selected-reaction monitoring (MRM/SRM).

This public database, or atlas, will be available to researchers around the world, enabling them to unambiguously identify and quantify any human protein in a multitude of samples. The work is expected to dramatically increase the speed and reduce the cost of biomarker discovery and analysis.

Leading this project are Dr Robert Moritz, associate professor and proteomics director at the Institute for Systems Biology, and Professor Ruedi Aebersold at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. Both Moritz and Aebersold will use mass spectrometry and synthetic peptides to identify and document at least four proteotypic, or unique, peptides for each human protein.

Over the next two years, Thermo Fisher will provide up to 100,000 synthetic peptides for the duration of the project and create a catalogue of the HeavyPeptide AQUA standards used in the assays, so other scientists can quickly obtain them for future research resulting from the MRMAtlas database.

‘The time is right to create the complete human proteome MRMAtlas,’ said Moritz. ‘This will undoubtedly accelerate efforts to develop sensitive and reliable assays for early detection, therapy assessment and prognosis evaluation for cancer as well as other human diseases. It will pave a path to personalized medicine by improving the development of individually tailored therapies.’

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