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Expression Analysis Announces its Participation in the First Phase of the MAQC Project

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Expression Analysis, Inc. has announced its participation as an official data analysis site in the first phase of the Federal Drug Administration's MicroArray Quality Control (MAQC) Project.

The completion of this phase of the project is described in several publications in September's issue of Nature Biotechnology.

Expression Analysis' role was led by two of its senior scientists, Laura Reid, Ph.D, Director of Research & Development, and Wendell Jones, Ph.D., Director of Statistics and Bioinformatics.

According to the MAQC website the purpose of the MAQC Project is "to provide quality control tools to the microarray community in order to avoid procedural failures and to develop guidelines for microarray data analysis by providing the public with large reference datasets along with readily accessible reference RNA samples."

It goes on to explain that standards and quality measures need to be developed prior to the successful and reliable use of microarray technology in clinical practice and regulatory decision making.

During this first phase, Dr. Reid led the manuscript writing team for the main publication, "The MicroArray Quality Control (MAQC) project shows inter- and intraplatform reproducibility of gene expression measurements" and coordinated the "Note on Nomenclature."

She is actively involved in other microarray standardization initiatives, including the External RNA Controls Consortium. Dr. Reid stated, "The MAQC project provides confidence in a variety of RNA expression technologies."

"It will greatly advance our ability to assess data quality and compare microarray results generated in different laboratories or using different platforms."

Dr. Reid also directs Expression Analysis' Proficiency Testing Program which is marketed to Affymetrix microarray laboratories.

This program is now using the same RNA reference material developed and tested within the MAQC project. Dr. Reid has been with Expression Analysis since its founding in 2001.

Dr. Jones reiterated the value of the MAQC project in the understanding and use of microarrays in discovery and in regulatory-based systems, "The completion of the MAQC project is a milestone in the acceptance of microarrays as a tool capable of providing repeatable and reproducible assays."

"We now know several of the requirements necessary for arrays to be used in the clinical setting."

"These requirements are broad, reaching all the way from laboratory protocols to probe design, from normalization to methods of analysis."

Dr. Jones provided a major role in the development of the inter-laboratory data comparisons and relative value of different quality metrics, which were directly applicable to the analysis of the MAQC data. Dr. Jones joined Expression Analysis in 2002.

This first phase of the MAQC Project was focused on reproducibility of results among seven microarray platforms and three other gene expression platforms. The second phase will focus on prediction and biomarker development.