Guest Update by Dr. Henry Rodriguez
CPTI Will Help Realize the Promise of Proteomics
There are many in the cancer research community who believe proteomics has tremendous potential, particularly for the early detection of disease. Unfortunately, current proteomic methodologies have not sufficiently addressed the lack of reproducibility of measurements from run to run, instrument to instrument, or laboratory to laboratory. This lack of standards and reproducibility led NCI to develop and launch the Clinical Proteomic Technologies Initiative for Cancer (CPTI) last September. The major goals of CPTI are to optimize current proteomic technologies and develop the new technologies, reagents, systems, and working teams needed to realize proteomics' promise.
Following several years of input from the international proteomics and cancer communities, CPTI was designed to provide a highly organized approach to assess, refine, develop, and apply proteomic technologies and data resources to support the discovery of biomarkers for all aspects of cancer research, especially early detection of cancer and to monitor therapeutic outcomes. This model will also lead to effective ways of addressing the barriers that exist early in the biomarker discovery pipeline.
Through interactions with NCI and federal and private sector groups, CPTI is expected to catalyze targeted discovery and development efforts. The purpose of these partnerships is to overcome the obstacles to recent attempts at applying protein measurement technologies - namely mass spectrometry (MS) and affinity-based detection methods - to clinical applications.
CPTI is addressing these hurdles through its three integrated programs. The team-based component is the Clinical Proteomic Technology Assessment for Cancer (CPTAC), consisting of five networked technology assessment centers that conduct rigorous technology assessment, develop standard protocols and clinical reference sets, and evaluate methods to ensure data reproducibility. Centers include the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Purdue University, the University of California, San Francisco, and Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Performed in conjunction with partners such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology, CPTI has assembled a multidisciplinary team that represents a broad range of commercially available MS proteomic platforms and analysis software to provide the most comprehensive approach to assess intraplatform and interlaboratory variability to the measurement of proteins in clinical specimens.
The other components of CPTI are the principal investigator-driven Advanced Proteomic Platforms and Computational Sciences and the Proteomic Reagents Resource. The former involves the development of innovative affinity-based and MS technologies, including software algorithms that support quantitative analysis of peptides and proteins, while the latter serves as a public resource for high-quality, well-characterized proteomic reagents (proteins, peptides, antibodies, proficiency testing materials) and other resources. Recently, CPTI's experience and the Reagents Resource component served as a model for and played a leading role in the 2008 NIH Protein Capture/Proteome Tools Roadmap Initiative.
Through its extramural community, CPTI aims to support the needed foundation for proteomics working in partnership with existing NCI resources, including caBIG, the Early Detection Research Network, and the SPOREs, to create a national proteomics research infrastructure. CPTI also integrates with NCI's technology programs such as the Innovative Molecular Analysis Technologies program, Office of Cancer Genomics, Office of Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research, the Small Business Innovation Research program, and the NCI Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer, among others.
It's truly rewarding to be part of this effort, one that I believe can create a paradigm shift in biomarker discovery and have a significant impact on cancer detection, diagnosis, and treatment.