Scientists from both organizations will work together on the design of several new types of clinical assay platforms that utilize both the amino acid identification of a protein fragment and its specific mass to identify the biomarker. Areas of focused research include Stage I lung, ovarian and breast cancers.
"For improved patient outcomes, new diagnostics are needed," said Robert F. Friel, president, PerkinElmer Life and Analytical Sciences.
"We are excited to provide technology that enables proteomic researchers to identify new biomarkers that may be able to detect cancer earlier."
"Collaborating with George Mason University's Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine provides an excellent opportunity to combine the superior technology of PerkinElmer and the systems biology research approach of this great institution."
The alliance initially calls for the creation of a proteomics technology to accurately measure and detect specific protein fragments found in human blood, which are potential biomarkers for disease.
The alliance builds on a recent discovery by George Mason University researchers, Drs. Emanuel F. Petricoin and Lance A. Liotta, of an archive of protein fragments in human blood.
"This untapped archive of protein fragments from diverse tissue and cellular origins may offer vital disease-related information," theorized Liotta.
"High-abundance proteins, such as albumin, found in blood serum appear to act as molecular magnets that mop up the fragments, and our work to date demonstrates that these fragments can be identified, measured and analyzed in the context of specific diseases, such as early stage ovarian cancer."
Petricoin explained that the alliance goes beyond the validation and discovery of markers for cancer to an unprecedented paradigm for disease detection using a new type of biomarker.
"The new concept - that disease detection lies in the information stored in fragments of proteins - requires both the precise mass and the amino acid sequence of the candidate biomarker," he said.
The biomarker candidates that George Mason scientists are discovering utilizing PerkinElmer's BioXPRESSION platform will then be validated in large-scale clinical trials to determine whether they identify the presence of cancer, discriminate cancer from other benign diseases and/or determine that a person does not have cancer.
"This research agreement with PerkinElmer will become a major driver in the rapidly emerging field of proteomics and represents the first commercial venture of this magnitude for the university," says George Mason President Alan Merten.
"But more importantly, it is an opportunity to meld the international reputations of George Mason scientists with the globally respected expertise of PerkinElmer to develop new technologies for clinical research that might ultimately reduce suffering caused by cancer and save lives."