There has been a progressive technology shift from genomics to proteomics with major applications requiring large-scale proteomics use including disease monitoring, biomarker discovery, drug target discovery and disease classification.
To fully leverage the potential of proteomics, including the multiple benefits of expression proteomics, broad partnerships between public and private sector, commercial and academic spheres will become essential.
Based on its application segments, proteomics is divided into protein separation (expression proteomics, two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and liquid chromatography) and identification methods (matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF), electronspray ionization (ESI-MS), surface-enhanced laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (SELDI) and protein chips).
Due to the good value addition expression proteomics brings to existing medical knowledge and technologies, investments in proteomics-directed research are being strongly encouraged.
Expression proteomics pins down the protein expression profiles for disease classification and studies different patient samples. It also helps physicians comprehend the influence of drugs and biological stimuli by examining body fluids.
"Analytical protein research has exhibited a relatively faster growth trend, although there has been some realignment in the competitive landscape," according to Frost & Sullivan Healthcare Analyst Charanya Ramachandran.
"Efforts are underway to move protein research from the commercial sector to the patient side, thus opening up more business opportunities."
As tools for expression proteomics find maximum utility in the target discovery phase of the drug development pipeline, technical improvisations can aid in reliable identification and separation of low abundant proteins with poor expression levels.
In addition, the developments of MALDI and ESI technologies have enlarged the scope of building versatile mass spectrometers that are the cornerstone technology in proteomics.
These spectrometers are expected to have enhanced facilities of automation and compatibility with other proteomics equipment. At the same time, the emergence of newer dyes is increasing chances for improved sensitivity.
Since disease-oriented proteomic research has received heightened appreciation from different sectors, researchers are being encouraged to provide application-oriented research objectives rather than providing mere technical expertise.
As a result, companies will be confident of investing in this arena, which can radically move diagnostics to the next plane of growth with the support of funding organisations.
With increasing relevance for protein-protein interactions and protein analytics in drug discovery and clinical diagnostics, proteomics is considered an emerging market with immense potential.
Public funding institutions are giving much importance to this growing biological discipline next to comparative genomics. Governments in the United Kingdom, France and Germany are trying to nurture the growing trend of the proteomics market.
The completion of the Human Genome Project coupled with technological innovation in proteomics tools will propel proteomics research in Europe.
Moreover, public-private partnership between companies as well as between commercial entities and academic institutions will accelerate the commercialisation of this technology.
"Though there is no dearth of funding in proteomics it faces other challenges such as designing a conceptual proteome model with an emphasis on building a good protein work flow rather than mastering the functionality of the individual components," explains Ms. Ramachandran.
"Furthermore, technological hurdles such as rapid advent of new technologies are also restricting the adoption of proteomic tools."
While efforts are being made to overcome teething technological issues in proteomic research, developers should endeavour to strengthen their product portfolios by realising mainstream applications for every proteomic technology and thus understanding customers' requirements comprehensively.
Garnering a huge knowledge repository has been one of the initiatives taken by many nations in Europe and with many academic-industry collaborations, the potential for the enhancement of knowledge transfer initiatives is large.