RICHLAND, Wash. — The Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is part of a nationwide effort to learn more about the role of proteins in cancer biology and to use that information to benefit cancer patients.
PNNL is paired with physicians and scientists at Oregon Health & Science University in one of three projects announced this week by the National Cancer Institute to bring detailed data about proteins to the bedsides of participants in current clinical trials. The OHSU-PNNL team is studying acute myeloid leukemia, the most common type of acute leukemia in adults. Other teams nationwide are focusing on breast and ovarian cancer.
For the current study, scientists will analyze blood samples from the study participants, looking at specific levels of proteins. The hope is to identify proteins that indicate which patients respond well to specific treatments and which patients don't respond to treatment, an important step to personalize therapies for patients.
"The beauty of adding a proteogenomic approach to clinical trials is that by using the patient's own cells and examining thousands of proteins and phosphoproteins for their response to drug treatment, therapy can be truly individualized, and ineffective treatments can be avoided," said Rodland.
PNNL is one of only two institutions nationwide involved in these new studies that are also participating in two additional efforts funded by NCI through its Clinical Proteomic Tumor Analysis Consortium:
- A Proteome Characterization Center headed by PNNL scientists Tao Liu and Richard D. Smith, which is focusing on the proteins involved in uterine cancer. The team will analyze samples from 200 people participating in research through the NCI network.
- A Proteogenomic Data Analysis Center that also includes scientists from New York University and Washington University. Samuel Payne leads the PNNL portion.
Overall, the institutions participating in the three CPTAC endeavors include:
- Baylor College of Medicine
- Broad Institute
- Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
- Johns Hopkins University
- Massachusetts General Hospital
- Mayo Clinic
- Mt. Sinai Icahn School of Medicine
- New York University School of Medicine
- Oregon Health & Science University
- Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
- University of Michigan
- University of Washington
- Washington University
"Proteogenomics has great potential to unleash new insights in oncology. The combination of proteomic, transcriptomic, and genomic data can now reproducibly identify proteins in cancer genomes that were difficult or not possible to infer by genomics alone," said Henry Rodriguez, director of the Office of Cancer Clinical Proteomics Research of the National Cancer Institute. "We envision that PTRCs will collaborate with NCI-sponsored clinical trials to expand/deepen our knowledge of drug response and resistance, ultimately improving our understanding of the cancer and the tumor proteome."