BiomarkersProtein Forest markets include Biomarkers, Protein Analysis and Drug Discovery
A biomarker is a single or group of biochemicals which has features that makes it useful for measuring the progress of disease, physiological change or the effects of treatment. Proteins, by nature of their universal role in carrying out functions, are the greatest source of potential biomarkers. Differential expression of protein biomarkers, either an increase or decrease in amount, is often the first sign of disease or therapeutic response.

Proper biomarkers can be used in therapeutic trials as indicators or substitutes for clinically meaningful endpoints. They can serve as a direct measure of how a patient feels, functions, or survives and can predict the effect of a therapy. Biomarkers can replace distal clinical endpoints with more proximal ones that can be measured earlier, frequently and with higher precision. Biomarkers may be less affected by other treatment modalities, require reduced sample sizes and allow for faster decision making such as eliminating toxic drug candidates.

Many protein biomarkers are present in complex samples such as blood plasma that contain hundreds to thousands of proteins. Simplifying these samples with a robust fractionation tool like the digital ProteomeChip™ will enhance the pace of discovery in this market.

Protein Analysis
In protein analysis, researchers, protein manufactures and QC professionals are seeking to extract the maximum amount of functional and chemical information about their protein sample. One of the large challenges facing analytical biochemists today is to rapidly separate, analyze and accurately quantify protein isoforms, modifications or impurities. The digital ProteomeChip™ rapidly fractionates complex protein mixtures that can then be analyzed by other methods such as mass spectrometry, immunoblotting or chromatography.

Drug Discovery
The drug discovery segment is driven by the use of proteomics techniques to identify useful therapeutic targets. Protein expression analysis and, in particular, differential expression analysis, are used to discover proteins that are part of a given disease pathway. These proteins can then become targets for antibody, biopharmaceutical or small-molecule drugs. A classic example is the HER2 protein which is over-expressed in certain breast cancers and which is the target of Genentech’s Herceptin® antibody therapeutic.

Proteins are also expressed as an early indication of toxicity. Many pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies are using protein analysis as a means to rapidly identify drug candidates that may be toxic in order to remove them from expensive clinical trials. The digital ProteomeChip™ is ideally suited for drug discovery proteomics due to its high throughput capability and for routine use in pre-clinical testing.