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Labcyte Secures NIH Funding

Published: Wednesday, November 09, 2011
Last Updated: Wednesday, November 09, 2011
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The award of $196K from the National Cancer Institute will fund a collaborative cancer biomarker validation program with the Canary Center of Stanford University.

The program will develop an advanced system for early cancer detection by integrating a suite of well-established biotechnologies that includes Labcyte proprietary acoustic liquid handling for arraying and MALDI mass spectrometry preparation.
Biomarkers are a key focus of diagnostic development with research in this field leading to the discovery of thousands of protein indicators of disease states. More recently, the challenge for diagnostic development has become one of validation—deciding which biomarkers correlate most closely with their respective diseases and are therefore best suited for more intensive development.

“This new project with Labcyte has the potential to accelerate the biomarker validation process dramatically, and successfully identify those biomarkers that might be turned into critical early-stage cancer diagnostics”, noted Dr. Mark Stolowitz, Director of the Proteomic Core Facility of the Stanford University Canary Center for Cancer Early Detection. “Right now, we have a serious throughput problem. There are thousands of potential biomarkers for particular cancers, but each one needs to be validated before it can be turned into a useful diagnostic test. Labcyte’s acoustic liquid handling is an enabling technology that will allow us to speed up the validation process with its precise, accurate and contamination-free liquid transfer system.”

“The key process is forming high-density arrays of peptides to capture and concentrate the analytes of diagnostic interest from a patient sample and then deposit matrix within each of these array sites, enabling quantitation by MALDI mass spectrometry,” noted Richard Ellson, CTO of Labcyte. ”Acoustic transfer is uniquely suited to this application as it can provide the flexibility to move samples, array peptides as well as spot volatile, concentrated solutions of matrix. Acoustic transfer uses focused ultrasound to sense and adapt to liquid characteristics, providing both precision in the volume and placement of challenging fluids such as patient samples and volatile reagents. The reliability, precision and sensitivity intrinsic to our transfer method in combination with the throughput and low operating cost from elimination of tips and wash steps make this an ideal workflow. Labcyte’s acoustic dispensing is well-established within the life science research and pharmaceutical world. This award reflects the breakthroughs that can be achieved using our instruments in the biomarker and diagnostic markets.”

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