Clinical proteomics is defined as the application of proteomic technologies to molecular profiling of tissues or body fluids in all aspects of clinical research. Technology development within the Laboratory of Proteomics and Analytical Technologies (LPAT) is driven by NCI scientists’ goals positioning the cancer as a model disease for translational bench-to-bedside research. Clinical proteomics workflow is very complex, starting from upstream specimen’s acquisition, storage, sample preparation and downstream MS analysis coupled with advanced bioinformatic processing. This workflow often encompasses a greater number of dependent experimental variables and more heterogeneous sample sets than more basic research.
The success of any clinical proteomic project is highly dependent on the involvement of clinicians from the very beginning. Leveraging the experience in translational research gained over the years, the LPAT scientists meet with NCI investigators prior to sample processing to obtain detailed input and ensure that experimental design match their scientific goals. Importantly, LPAT scientists keep close contact with NCI investigators, informing them regularly abut the progress of investigation in collaborative manner.
The LPAT continues to develop innovative approaches related to cancer biomarker research. These include: coupling laser capture microdissection of fresh frozen thin tissue slices with LC-MS and tissue-directed mapping of tumor proteins in peripheral blood for more confident biomarker discovery.