"Prediction" is only part of what is needed to realize the promise of personalized medicine: It is perhaps more critical to detect the early onset of disease in real time, when it is most likely to be successfully treated. Dr. Larry Gold, CEO of SomaLogic and Professor at the University of Colorado Boulder, will present a breakthrough technology that promises to provide such sensitive and early detection, and ultimately transform the practice of medicine. His talk, Unlocking Biomarker Discovery, will be presented at a special Session on "Predictive Medicine" on February 17, 2012, at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Vancouver, Canada.
Genes are uniquely "predictive." Indeed, the recent, astounding advances in genomics provide an ever-finer risk assessment for a variety of diseases. But although one's genetic makeup may predict the lifetime risk of a particular disease, it rarely informs a particular individual whether or not he or she has actually contracted that disease. Truly personalized medicine requires more immediate and more accurate molecular markers of health and disease. And those markers are most likely to be found among the 20,000-plus proteins that circulate through the body at varying concentrations, concentrations that are related directly to the state of wellness of the body from which they arise.
Proteins, however, are notoriously difficult to measure accurately, sensitively, and in a high-throughput manner. First-generation proteomic technologies like chromatography, 2D gels, mass spectrometry and antibody-based ELISAs each have advantages, but none can capture a complete picture of the human proteome rapidly and cost-effectively. SomaLogic's new SOMAscan™ technology, based on novel SOMAmer™ protein capture reagents, can identify and measure thousands of proteins from a drop of blood or other biological sample. The SOMAscan assay finally unlocks protein biomarker discovery to drive new therapeutic and diagnostic discovery and development.
In his talk, Dr. Gold will provide examples of how the SOMAscan assay has already been applied successfully to clinical and companion diagnostics, new drug discovery and development, and new understandings of normal biology and disease. He will also introduce the idea of the "Wellness Chip," a single assay tool that could empower each person to maintain his or her own state of health, and usher in a new age of truly "personalized" medicine.