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NCI Awards Labcyte $1 Million for Development of High-Throughput Cancer Biomarker Detection Process

In a November 20, 2013 press release, Labcyte Inc., the acoustic dispensing company, announced that it has been awarded $1 million to create an innovative process to detect cancer-related proteins in samples, with initial work in breast cancer detection. The unsurpassed precision and accuracy of Labcyte acoustic liquid handling enables biomarker detection by measuring multiple proteins with a MALDI mass spectrometer. Recent work with the Canary Center at Stanford, also supported by the National Cancer Institute, showed the ability to achieve the sensitivity required for quantifying very small amounts of proteins associated with ovarian cancer. Measuring the amount of multiple proteins, and at lower cost, is an essential step in developing new diagnostic tools for disease treatment and monitoring. This cutting-edge process encompasses stable standards and capture of biomarkers with antibodies and expects to achieve greater throughput than traditional liquid chromatography-mass spectrometric approaches. The utility of this technique will be tested by simultaneously analyzing 16 different biomarkers, run in quadruplicate, to simulate the analysis of 64 unique biomarkers. The process has the potential to expand to a greater number of biomarkers as well. It may enable significant advances in diagnostics and discovery. "I am particularly enthusiastic about participating with Labcyte on the further development of their protein multiplexed biomarker detection platform,” said Dr. Mark Stolowitz, Director of the Proteomics Core Facility at the Canary Center at Stanford for Cancer Early Detection. “This novel immunoaffinity mass spectrometry-based approach exploits MALDI-TOF-MS for detection of proteotypic peptides. The platform affords sensitivity comparable to that of triple-quad mass spectrometers while providing significantly greater throughput and better precision than that obtainable from LC-MS/MS based approaches. Over the next few years, the Labcyte platform should provide the high throughput biomarker verification/validation solution that researchers have sought in conjunction with the emergence of clinical proteomics." In addition to working with the Canary Center, the Labcyte project includes collaboration with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington. “We are excited to work with Dr. Stolowitz to explore the potential advantages of the Labcyte platform to increase the throughput beyond that of existing immuno-MRM assays,” said Dr. Amanda Paulovich, an associate member of the Clinical Research Division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. “Better identification and quantification of multiple biomarkers are critical tools for researchers and clinicians to fight cancer and a wide variety of other diseases,” said Rich Ellson, CTO of Labcyte. “The unique, revolutionary aspects of acoustic dispensing are essential for the process. We are eager to work with Dr. Stolowitz and Dr. Paulovich, as this could become fundamental for biomarker development.” This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institute of Health and Human Services under Contract No. HHSN261201300089C. Labcyte, a global biotechnology tools company headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, is revolutionizing liquid handling. Echo liquid handling systems made by Incyte use sound to precisely transfer liquids without contact, eliminating the use of pipettes. Labcyte instruments are used worldwide throughout the pharmaceutical industry, as well as by biotechnology firms, contract research organizations, and academic institutions. Our customers work across a wide spectrum of scientific research, including drug discovery, genomics, proteomics, diagnostics, personalized medicine, and imaging mass spectrometry. Labcyte has 53 U.S. patents and others internationally. For more information, visit www.labcyte.com. The Canary Center at Stanford is a world-class facility dedicated to cancer early detection research programs. The mission of the center is to foster research leading to the development of blood tests and molecular imaging approaches to detect and localize early cancers. The center is the first in the world to integrate research on both in vivo and in vitro diagnostics to deliver these tests, by housing state-of-the-art core facilities and collaborative research programs in molecular imaging, proteomics, chemistry, and bioinformatics. These initiatives have extensive links to the Cancer Center at Stanford, forming a direct pipeline for the translation of early cancer detection research into clinical trials and practice. The Center was established through an alliance between the Canary Foundation, the Department of Radiology, and the School of Medicine. (canarycenter.stanford.edu) At the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC), home to three Nobel laureates, interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists seek new and innovative ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS, and other life-threatening diseases. FHCRC’s pioneering work in bone marrow transplantation helped lead to the development of immunotherapy, which harnesses the power of the immune system to treat cancer with minimal side effects. An independent, nonprofit research institute based in Seattle, the FHCRC houses the nation’s first and largest cancer prevention research program, as well as the clinical coordinating center of the Women’s Health Initiative and the international headquarters of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network. Private contributions are essential for enabling FHCRC scientists to explore novel research opportunities that lead to important medical breakthroughs. For more information, visit www.fredhutch.org or follow Fred Hutch on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. [Press release]