Agilent, U-M partner on research to attack prostate cancer using systems biology


Christopher Beecher

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Agilent Technologies Inc. today announced its support of prostate cancer research by the University of Michigan's Center for Translational Pathology through a grant of instruments and funding. The goal is to accelerate research to defeat the disease using a multidisciplinary systems biology approach.

"We see this as an opportunity to partner with a truly advanced lab that is using multiple scientific disciplines to look at very important clinical problems," said Gustavo Salem, Agilent vice president and general manager, Biological Systems Division. "This relationship will give us a better understanding of how to apply our technologies in a clinical research setting and will enable the University of Michigan to accelerate its scientific research."
Agilent is contributing a 1200 Series liquid chromatography (LC) system to be used to separate metabolites from human plasma, and a 1200 Series Rapid Resolution LC coupled to a 6530 Accurate Mass quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometer (Q-TOF MS) for the identification of those metabolites.
"We will focus our laboratory research on a systems-biological approach to try to understand the disease at the biochemical and genetic levels simultaneously," explained Christopher Beecher, Ph.D., professor of pathology at the U-M Medical School. "We expect to be able to make a number of discoveries in prostate cancer and to develop new techniques that will be useful universally."
The research team, led by the director of the MCTP,  Arul Chinnaiyan,  M.D., Ph.D., has already revealed metabolomic profiles of prostate cancer progression by looking at 1,126 metabolites across 262 samples of tissue, blood or urine. The lab is currently trying to unlock the secrets of how prostate tumors gain the ability to spread. The MCTP houses cutting-edge facilities for genomic, proteomic and metabolomic analyses, the three main disciplines used in systems biology.
The collaboration between MCTP and Agilent is a result of Agilent's University Relations Program, which facilitates collaborations with universities around the world. The program sponsors research that advances the science of measurement and provides instructional materials to universities.
About MCTP
The Michigan Center for Translational Pathology is committed to the discovery of the genetic factors involved in the development of a wide variety of diseases, including cancer of the prostate, breast, lung, colon and skin. The center's researchers actively pursue advances in the early detection and treatment of various types of cancer and other diseases, with the eventual goal of creating new targeted therapies.
About Agilent Technologies
Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) is the world's premier measurement company and a technology leader in communications, electronics, life sciences and chemical analysis. The company's 19,000 employees serve customers in more than 110 countries. Agilent had net revenues of $5.8 billion in fiscal 2008. Information about Agilent is available on the Web at www.agilent.com.

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