News Spectrum

Jan 01, 2014
By Spectroscopy Editors
Volume 29, Issue 1

National Cancer Institute Awards Labcyte $1 Million for Novel High-Throughput Cancer Biomarker Detection

Labcyte, Inc. (Sunnyvale, California), an acoustic dispensing company, has been awarded $1 million to create an innovative process to detect cancer-related proteins in samples, with initial work in breast cancer detection.

Labcyte's acoustic liquid handling enables biomarker detection by measuring multiple proteins with matrix-assisted laser desorption–ionization (MALDI) mass spectrometry (MS). Recent work with the Canary Center at Stanford (Palo Alto, California), also supported by the National Cancer Institute, showed the ability to achieve the sensitivity required for quantifying very small amounts of proteins associated with ovarian cancer. Measuring the amount of multiple proteins, and at lower cost, is an essential step in developing new diagnostic tools for disease treatment and monitoring.

"I am particularly enthusiastic about participating with Labcyte on the further development of their protein multiplexed biomarker detection platform," Dr. Mark Stolowitz, director of the Proteomics Core Facility at the Canary Center at Stanford for Cancer Early Detection said in a statement. "This novel immunoaffinity MS-based approach exploits MALDI-time-of-flight (TOF)-MS for detection of proteotypic peptides. The platform affords sensitivity comparable to that of triple-quad mass spectrometers while providing significantly greater throughput and better precision than that obtainable from liquid chromatography–MS-MS based approaches. Over the next few years, the Labcyte platform should provide the high throughput biomarker verification/validation solution that researchers have sought in conjunction with the emergence of clinical proteomics."

In addition to working with the Canary Center, the Labcyte project includes collaboration with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington.

Center for Nano-Optics Becomes Top-Level Georgia State University Research Center

The Center for Nano-Optics has been created at Georgia State University (Atlanta, Georgia) under the leadership of Georgia State Physics Professor Mark Stockman. The center will expand the university's nanotechnology focus and continue the development of two university inventions — the spaser, and the nanoplasmonic metal funnel.

The spaser is a laser that is 1000 times smaller than the smallest laser and also 1000 times thinner than a human hair. Success in incorporating spaser technology into transistors, something that cannot be done now, may lead to computer processors that operate 100 to 1000 times faster than today's processors. Spasers may also help biomedical researchers identify and track single cancer cells in the bloodstream.

The second invention is the plasmonic metal funnel designed with a very thin needle at the end. This technology allows energy to be delivered to very small spaces.