Emanuel "Chip" Petricoin, Co-Director, CAPMM, George Mason University
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Listen (4:00) Beyond the genome
Listen (5:30) Challenges to mapping the proteome
Listen (10:35) A new level of resolution for studying protein activity
Listen (6:05) 95% of cancer patients treated at the community level
Listen (8:12) Taking the latest in tumor profiling to patients everywhere
Today we continue our series on the democratization of tumor profiling with Chip Petricoin, Co-Director for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine at George Mason University.
Chip says we must now go beyond the genome to the proteome and metabolome to really understand the biology of disease. Chip is particularly interested in hard to treat cancers such as pancreatic cancer.
The proteins are where the action is, insists Chip. Proteins are the drug targets for approved therapies. They comprise most of the biomarkers looked at in routine therapy. And proteins form the pathways and networks that everyone has been talking about.
“There’s no such thing as a gene pathway,” Chip says in today's interview. "Genes don’t form pathways. Genes don’t move. Genes aren’t the software of the cell. Genes are the blueprint. Proteins form the pathways. They do the work."
What are the challenges in characterizing the human proteome, and what new strategies are researchers like Chip using to get at a new level of awareness of protein activity?
Chip's work is being commercialized at two companies. The first, Theranostics Health, is developing a diagnostic that will measure protein activation. Perthera, the second company, uses not only genomics, but also proteomics to profile tumors. Chip explains how Perthera is taking the latest research that, until now, has been accessible only at major research hospitals and makes it available to community oncologists everywhere.