|NCI Creates Network of Clinical Proteomic Technology
Centers for Cancer Research
The National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes
of Health, today announced funding for a major component of its
$104 million, five-year Clinical Proteomic Technologies Initiative
for Cancer (CPTI). Awards totaling $35.5 million over five years
will establish a collaborative network of five Clinical Proteomic
Technology Assessment for Cancer (CPTAC) teams. Each of these teams
will bring complementary expertise to assess the full spectrum
of measurement technologies for proteins and peptides relevant
to clinical cancer research and practice. Proteomics is the study
of the structure and function of proteins, including the way they
work and interact with each other inside cells; a peptide is any
compound consisting of two or more amino acids, which are the building
blocks of proteins.
CPTAC will guide and provide resources to the broader cancer research
community. The network’s collaborative efforts will enable researchers
conducting cancer-related protein research at different laboratories,
to use proteomic technologies and methodologies to directly compare
and analyze their work. In current cancer proteomic research, standardized
technologies and methodologies are critically needed in order to
more effectively discover and validate proteins and peptides relevant
to cancer, or “biomarkers.” This should lead in turn to improved
diagnostics, therapies and even prevention.
“Emerging proteomic technologies have potential to improve cancer
diagnostics and treatment, but we must carefully, consistently,
and systematically examine them at every major step in the measurement
process, in order to realize their full potential,” said NCI Director
John E. Niederhuber, M.D.
CPTAC awardees were chosen based, in part, on the broad expertise
of their proteomic research teams and their familiarity with and
regular use of a wide range of proteomic technologies. These five
CPTAC teams define a cross-institutional and multidisciplinary
network of assessment centers that will rigorously evaluate and
compare different commercially-available proteomic platforms and
analysis software packages in the context of their potential applicability
to cancer. They will also work together to develop a comprehensive
approach to assess intra-platform and inter-laboratory variability
in these measurement technologies.
Awardees include (in alphabetical order by the investigator leading
the institutional team):
- Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, Mass.
Steven A. Carr, Ph.D.
- University of California, San Francisco/Lawrence Berkeley
Susan J. Fisher, Ph.D.
- Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville,
Daniel C. Liebler, Ph.D.
- Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind.
Fred E. Regnier, Ph.D.
- Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY.
Paul Tempst, Ph.D.
“This program is a critical component of NCI’s strategy for leveraging
the diagnostic and therapeutic potential of proteomics for cancer
patients,” said NCI Deputy Director Anna D. Barker, Ph.D. “I am
confident that the complementary proteomic expertise of the awardees,
and their commitment to inter-institutional collaboration and real-time
data sharing, will enable the development of biomarkers to contribute
to a new generation of molecularly-based interventions to diagnose,
treat, and prevent cancer.”
The multidisciplinary teams will conduct rigorous assessment of
two major technologies currently used to analyze proteins and peptides — mass
spectrometry and affinity capture platforms. Specific objectives
of the CPTAC program teams include:
- Evaluating the performance of proteomic technology platforms
and standardizing approaches to developing applications of these
- Assessing proteomic platforms for their ability to analyze
cancer-relevant proteomic changes in human clinical specimens
- Establishing systematic ways to standardize proteomic protocols
and data analysis among different laboratories
- Developing and implementing uniform algorithms for sharing
bioinformatics and proteomic data and analytical/data mining
- Developing well-characterized material and bioinformatics resources
for the entire cancer research community.
“With this far-sighted program, NCI is taking on one of the most
challenging tasks facing researchers in the proteomics field,” said
Lee Hartwell, Ph.D., president and director of the Fred Hutchinson
Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Wash. “This effort is absolutely
essential if we are to accelerate the advancement of proteomics
into clinical practice.”
CPTAC is one of three major CPTI program components, all of which
were developed over the past 2 years with input from the research
community. The other components include:
- Advanced Proteomic Platforms and Computational Sciences
This program will support the development of innovative tools
and enabling technologies for protein and peptide measurement
and support algorithm development and computational methods
to interrogate emerging pre-processed data sets. Awards will
be announced later this year.
- Clinical Proteomic Reagents Resource
This program will serve as a central (virtual) source for reagents
(chemical substances of sufficient purity for use in chemical
analysis) for the scientific community. The Resource will develop
standard reagents, perform characterization, provide an interactive
resource catalog through the cancer Biomedical Informatics
Grid (caBIG), and expedite acquisition and distribution
of reagents and data on reagent performance. Awards and application
process will be announced this year.
The three CPTI program components (CPTAC, Advanced Proteomic Platforms
and Computational Sciences, and the Clinical Proteomic Reagents
Resource) are integrated efforts by NCI to address the fundamental
scientific requirements that must be met in order to realize the
promise of proteomics for cancer diagnosis and therapy. Together
they will provide the entire scientific community with a rigorous
assessment of current proteomic technologies, the development and
assessment of novel technologies and computational methods, and
a central repository of the resources needed to productively use
these proteomic tools.
For more information on the Clinical Proteomic Technologies Initiative
for Cancer and the Clinical Proteomic Technologies Assessment for
Cancer awards, please visit http://proteomics.cancer.gov.
For more information about cancer or the National Cancer Institute,
please visit the NCI Web site at http://www.cancer.gov or
call NCI’s Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4 CANCER (1-800-422-6237).
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's
Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and
Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting
and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research,
and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both
common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and
its programs, visit www.nih.gov.