DNA sequencing was worth thousands of dollars. Now you can pay 99 dollars for genetic screening, without leaving home.
"Checking the genome of the wild was abroad in 90 years, but ten years later, it is possible", - says chemistry professor Neil Kelleher. "And that's because the technology has reached the precise molecular read the task."
Kelleher believes that the world advances in genomics, in particular, the mapping of the human genome, can serve as a guide for the study of proteins, known as proteomics.
"The Human Genome Project was an incredible feat of gene mapping and sequencing" - he says. "We are ready to do the same for proteins. We have cataloged one billion of proteins in the human body to build businesses, develop medicines and to detect cancer and other diseases with much greater efficiency. "
Kelleher believes that the creation and successful completion of what it calls "Project Human protests" a revolution in our understanding of health and disease.
The best test for prostate cancer
Current PSA test demonstrates the need for accurate mapping of our proteins, says Kelleher. Prostate-specific antigen or the PSA-test is a blood test for prostate cancer. PSA - a protein produced by prostate cells.
"This test is not very large, like the screen, and this has led to discrepancies in the diagnosis and early detection of cancer," - says Kelleher. "Why is this? We believe that this is because it is inaccurate with respect to protein molecules. "
PSA is composed of more than 100 unique protein molecules, and each of them must be accurately measured in order to fully understand the antigen. Conventional methods never cope with this complexity, but Kelleher laboratory has developed a technology that could significantly improve the analysis of the protein, resulting in a more accurate test would be.
"Our technique is called top-down proteomics, - says Kelleher. "This analysis of the protein with a complete molecular structure."
The difference between the conventional technology, called "top-down" proteomics and method "downward" Kelleher, absolute.
When applied to a protein PSA bottom-up and top-down proteomics looks very different. The idea of bottom-up proteomics, says Kelleher, the researchers used an enzyme to separate the PSA protein forms, produced by the human body. About 80 percent of these broken "scraps" as they were kissing Kelleh will be lost in the process.
In contrast, top-down proteomics stores the millions of protein molecules intact and separate, allowing scientists to analyze each protein molecule with a "complete molecular specificity."
Kelleher knows that the best test of PSA - one that is informed by the "top-down" can help make the mapping of the entire human proteome. "Then we can use the methods of" top down ", to create the ultimate directory of all proteoform in the human body," - he says.
Kelleher says that researchers will be able to more thoroughly investigate proteoformy that contain the PSA, determining which specific proteins when they are promoted or otherwise modified, are the true harbingers of prostate cancer.
"If we compare the 100 different flavors of PSA protein, and measure in its entirety with the development of cancer, we will be able to use protein status to detect cancer earlier and with greater confidence," - he says.
Laboratory Kelleher called Northwestern Proteomics, sees great potential in proteomics for early detection of other cancers, and more.
"We are very interested in the detection of protein leak from tumors," - says Kelleher. "This is what the world is trying to use the ascending proteomics, and it really did not work. But now we have the best technology in the world right here, and we take this difficult measurement problem. "
Northwestern Proteomics uniquely positioned for this work, and Kelleher have big goals for PSA and beyond. His team is already using a top-down proteomics to predict the success of organ transplantation, and Kelleher sure that top-down methods may revolutionize our understanding and treatment of brain diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
"Proteomics is not limited to oncology and cancer", - said Kelleher. "In our work, there are applications for all types of human diseases because they all converge on the protein."