Array-based proteomics: mapping of protein circuitries for diagnostics, prognostics, and therapy guidance in cancer

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The human proteome, due to the enormity of post-translational permutations that result in large numbers of isoforms, is much more complex than the genome and alterations in cancer can occur in ways that are not predictable by translational analysis alone. Proteomic analysis therefore represents a more direct way of investigating disease at the individual patient level. Furthermore, since most novel therapeutic targets are proteins, proteomic analysis potentially has a central role in patient care. At the same time, it is becoming clear that mapping entire networks rather than individual markers may be necessary for robust diagnostics as well as tailoring of therapy. Consequently, there is a need for high-throughput multiplexed proteomic techniques, with the capability of scanning multiple cases and analysing large numbers of endpoints. New types of protein arrays combined with advanced bioinformatics are currently being used to identify molecular signatures of individual tumours based on protein pathways and signalling cascades. It is envisaged that analysing the cellular ‘circuitry’ of ongoing molecular networks will become a powerful clinical tool in patient management.

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