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Millions of Measurements Key to Tracking Changes in Disease States
SEATTLE -- Friday, April 15, 2005 - Based on the premise that disease disturbs cellular networks, researchers at the Institute for Systems Biology have taken a significant step toward a systems approach to understanding cancer diagnostics and progression of the disease.
The research, published in the April 15 issue of Cancer Research combined Massively Parallel Signature Sequencing (MPSS) and Isotope Coded Affinity Tags (ICAT) technologies to integrate mRNA and protein measurements. The research also applied an array of computational tools developed at ISB for systems visualization and data analysis to identify multiple pathways/networks perturbed during prostate cancer progression.
The millions of measurements at the molecular level enabled by the MPSS technology provide the basis for a systems approach to diseases. This technology, combined with powerful computational tools facilitated generation of new insights into the disease as it progressed. The results are providing a comprehensive database and a powerful resource that will enable the development of tools for multi-parameter analysis.
"A network based disease classification/stratification scheme can now be devised to better evaluate the disease progression state and to select treatment options based on where and how significantly the network is perturbed, rather than based on pathological or clinical manifestation," stated Biaoyang Lin, ISB senior research scientist. "Furthermore, the secreted proteins reflecting the perturbed network have the potential to serve as markers for early diagnostics and for monitoring disease progression and therapy responses."
Utilizing systems approaches, scientists were able to identify multiple perturbed networks in prostate cancer -- rather than one gene or pathway -- and demonstrate how they changed through the modification of patterns of mRNA and protein expression, as the disease progressed. This represents an important step forward in assessing an individual's health status, a necessary component in the emerging field of predictive and preventive medicine.
Systems approaches will enable the detection of the early stages of disease, when therapeutic intervention is most likely to be effective. Based on the identification and possibility of understanding of key nodal control points in the network, these approaches will ultimately make it possible to design drugs more rationally and less costly, maximizing drugs' ability to restore the network to a more normal state while minimizing side effects.
About the Institute for Systems Biology
The Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) is an internationally renowned non-profit research institute dedicated to the study and application of systems biology. ISB's goal is to unravel the mysteries of human biology and identify strategies for predicting and preventing diseases such as cancer, diabetes and AIDS. The driving force behind the innovative "systems" approach is the integration of biology, computation, and technology. This approach allows scientists to analyze all of the elements in a system rather than one gene or protein at a time. Located in Seattle, Washington, the Institute has grown to 11 faculty and more than 170 staff members; an annual budget of more than $25 million; and an extensive network of academic and industrial partners. For more information about the ISB visit: www.systemsbiology.org
About World Community Grid
To date, more than 100,000 computers are participating in World Community Grid but more are needed to continue this important work. Individuals can volunteer their computer's idle computing time by joining at www.worldcommunitygrid.org. World Community Grid is powered by IBM technology, which includes IBM eServer p630 and x345 systems and IBM's Shark Enterprise Storage Server running IBM DB2 database software and the AIX and Linux operating systems. IBM DB2 software will supports millions of SQL queries a day as it manages all aspects of the data provided by potentially millions of computers working in concert. World Community Grid will harnesses computing time donated by potentially millions of PCs and laptops around the world for humanitarian research. For more information about the Human Proteome Folding Project, visit www.worldcommunitygrid.org