Enhanced protein analysis could help early disease detection

phys.org | 9/11/2017 | Staff
Mijac (Posted by) Level 3
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People could start receiving life-saving treatment for cancer and other diseases much earlier with the help of a new method to analyze blood proteins.

A paper by researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory describes a new way to prepare and analyze blood samples that significantly improves researchers' ability to detect proteins that exist in very low concentrations - as little as 10 picograms per milliliter of blood. Such tiny, hard-to-detect concentrations are common with disease-indicating proteins, which are also called biomarkers.

Researchers - Proteins - Antibodies - Proteins - Proteins

Many researchers identify proteins by using antibodies, Y-shaped proteins that grab onto proteins they're specifically designed to target. But many proteins either don't have matching antibodies or the antibodies they do have aren't good enough to find proteins when few of them are present.

Researchers have long used antibodies this way, but mass spectrometry provides an attractive alternative that is more effective at identifying proteins. To analyze a given protein in blood or other biological samples, researchers use a mass spectrometry approach called selected reaction monitoring, also known as SRM. SRM specifically looks for unique peptides that indicate the presence of a targeted protein.

PNNL - Scientists - SRM - Method - PRISM-SRM

In 2012, PNNL scientists improved upon standard SRM when they developed a new method called PRISM-SRM, which separates a sample into 96 fractions and determines which of those fractions contains targeted proteins. This enables researchers to run an enriched sample with more targeted proteins through the mass spectrometer. As a result, it can detect proteins that exist in concentrations between 1 nanogram and 100 picograms per milliliter in blood. The 100 picogram-level of...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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