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Thermo Fisher Scientific Collaborates with Expression Pathology

Published: Friday, December 18, 2009
Last Updated: Friday, December 18, 2009
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The collaboration will apply both companies’ expertise for identification of cancer-related proteins.

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. announced a collaboration between its Biomarker Research Initiatives in Mass Spectrometry (BRIMS) Center and Expression Pathology Inc., Rockville, MD.

The collaboration will apply Thermo Fisher’s expertise in quantitative protein analysis using mass spectrometry and Expression Pathology's patented Director® laser microdissection and Liquid Tissue® sample processing technologies to measure cancer-related proteins in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue.

Traditionally, pathologists and clinicians have used immunohistochemistry (IHC) and tissue morphology to assess FFPE tissue samples for clinical research. However, IHC can only be used to locate and assess those few proteins for which specific antibodies have been developed. IHC is quite limited in throughput and sensitivity and its interpretation is often subjective.

The goal of the BRIMS Center and Expression Pathology collaboration is to develop an alternative workflow that is not dependent on specific antibodies: a workflow that is more sensitive and provides high-quality quantitative information about a much wider range of specific proteins that are suspected of being markers for cancer. This will provide information for clinical researchers involved in disease biomarker discovery and verification.

The envisioned “digitalized pathology” workflow will combine three innovative technologies for the first time. The Expression Pathology advanced microdissection method will be used to collect specific cell types from FFPE tissue and the protein content of those samples will be solubilized using Liquid Tissue®.

Target proteins in this minute amount of tissue will be measured by Selected Reaction Monitoring (SRM) using Thermo Scientific mass spectrometers. Finally, Pinpoint™ software developed by the BRIMS Center will link the tissue images with the quantitative mass spectrometric data.

Under the terms of the collaboration agreement, the two parties will collaborate to develop SRM assays based on Expression Pathology’s proprietary Liquid Tissue platform.

“Quantitative measurement in FFPE tissue of proteins and protein pathways that are the targets of a new generation of cancer therapeutics presents opportunities in personalized medicine to relate those measurements to patients and better inform drug treatment decisions” said Casey Eitner, President and CEO of Expression Pathology. “We are excited by the opportunity to work with the BRIMS Center and its outstanding expertise in applying mass spectrometry to proteomics for clinical research.”

“We are looking forward to working with Expression Pathology,” said Mary Lopez, director of the Thermo Fisher Scientific BRIMS Center. “This collaboration extends our quantitative proteomics workflows into novel areas and complements our current focus on biomarker discovery and its translation into the clinical research environment.”

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