By means of proteomic assay technology researchers identified significant expression changes in lung cancer tissue samples.
"Early detection of NSCLC can dramatically improve the prognosis for patients with the disease, as has been shown recently through the use of CT-scans in a high-risk population of heavy smokers," said Sheri Wilcox, Ph.D., Director of Discovery Sciences at SomaLogic. "However, this approach has a high false-positive rate, which can result in overdiagnosis and unnecessary treatment. We set out to find additional molecular 'biomarkers' that would help guide both the use of imaging techniques as well as choosing appropriate treatments."
In their study, the researchers found 36 protein biomarkers that showed significant expression differences between the tumor tissue and non-cancerous lung tissue samples taken from the same patients. These potential biomarkers were discovered by simultaneously measuring the expression levels of 820 different proteins in all samples examined, using SomaLogic's SOMAscan proteomic assay. Of these 36 potential biomarkers, thirteen had not previously been associated with NSCLC, providing new biological insights into the disease as well as suggesting potential new therapeutic targets.
In addition to the NSCLC protein biomarker discovery, the scientists also demonstrate the utility of the protein-binding reagents used in SOMAscan for direct visualization of protein expression in tissue sections using standard histopathology techniques. SOMAmer (Slow Off-rate Modified Aptamer) binding reagents bind their respective proteins in a manner similar to and as effective as antibodies, but unlike antibodies they can be used in highly multiplexed applications to look at expression differences across thousands of proteins in a single experiment. And as demonstrated in the PLoS ONE paper, SOMAmers can also be used as individual tissue probing agents for pathology studies.