Sciex, Children’s Medical Research Institute build center to aid cancer precision medicine

ProCan's goal is to advance cancer precision medicine.

With a $10 million grant from the Australian Cancer Research Foundation, Sciex, an expert in life science analytical technologies, joined hands with Australia’s Children’s Medical Research Institute to open a cancer proteome center.

The ProCan project, or Australian Cancer Research Foundation International Centre for the Proteome of Human Cancer, officially opened in late 2016, enables large-scale proteome studies in cancer research, with the goal to advance precision medicine.

Sciex provided a large suite of its TripleTOF 6600 mass spectrometers and NanoLC 400 LC systems, together with SWATH Acquisition and OneOmics cloud computing. The mass spectrometers use a tissue-based method developed at Ruedi Aebersold’s lab at ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), and the microflow SWATH Acquision technologies provide high sample throughput and will reduce the significant variability often associated with sample preparation.

The Framingham, Massachusetts-based company specializes in capillary electrophoresis and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry for basic scientific research and clinical research, drug discovery and development, food and environmental testing and forensics.

ProCan will also have access to some of Sciex’s exclusive collaborators, including Pressure Biosciences and Beckman Coulter, using pressure cycling technology and liquid handling workstations for increased sample preparation, throughput and reproducibility.

With all those technologies and equipment, ProCan will industrialize the process of analyzing tissue samples and identifying cancer biomarkers.

“This collaboration with Sciex enables ProCan to advance our vision to scale-up the process of finding causes of cancers, which is essential for earlier diagnosis and the development of new and even personalized approaches,” said Professor Phil Robinson, head of the cell signaling unit at CMRI and co-developer of ProCan, in a statement.

The center will perform proteome studies on about 70,000 samples of all types of cancer to develop a library of information that will be accessible to the public and could help doctors quickly identify the best type of treatment for each individual cancer patient, said Robinson. ProCan also signed a memorandum of understanding with the NIH’s National Cancer Institute as part of former Vice President Joe Biden's Cancer Moonshot Initiative.

The center is currently seeking further funding for the second phase of the project, which will employ advanced computer analysis and bioinformatics techniques to compare the protein data with other information available, according to the center.

CMRI focuses on understanding the genes involved in human health, and it is at the forefront of international research in the areas of embryonic development and birth defects, cancer, neurobiology, and gene therapy.

The ACRF Cancer Centre also includes the Centre for Kinomics—a joint venture between CMRI and the University of Newcastle—and the Telomere Analysis Centre.