Will High Sensitivity Proteomics Enable a New Paradigm in Precision Health? with Kevin Hrusovsky, Quanterix

Kevin Hrusovosky’s career has been dedicated to transforming medicine from reactive “sick care” to preventative personalized care. A serial entrepreneur, he currently serves as the CEO of Quanterix, a company which has just nabbed $700 million and is raising the bar on proteomics testing.

“Genomics can tell you what your predisposition is,” he says in today’s interview, “proteomics can tell you the earliest moment you are in a disease cascade.”

Quanterix has, like many other companies in the past year, added COVID testing to their lineup. Where they have made their mark in the pandemic as well as in many other disease areas is with the high sensitivity of their testing. This new sensitivity will ultimately lead to high quality, at-home COVID testing and coupled with wearables, early preventative testing for other diseases, says Kevin.

Tests that are up to 1000 times more sensitive than older technologies are opening up opportunities in early detection of cancer, infectious disease, and heart disease. Kevin believes we will see a shift in the testing paradigm. Patients will be tested earlier: not just when they have symptoms, but when they are asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic. The company is also working with pharmaceutical companies to better stratify patients for Alzheimer’s trials.

How will patients know to be tested if they are pre-symptomatic? How does Kevin see the proteomics tools space compared to that of genomics?

Join us as we zoom out from the pandemic to look at the precision health movement as powered by proteomics.

In Autoimmune Disease, Finding Clarity Beyond the Genome: Stefan Muellner, Protagen

Today we bring you a story which fits nicely in the vein of personalized medicine. But this time with a twist.

We talk with the CEO of Protagen, a company that has developed a platform to find new biomarkers for disease, particularly autoimmune diseases such as SLE, or Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. But the platform is based on the hunt for genetic mutations. Rather the company is using antibodies, or proteins to better define disease and disease populations. The company is able to stratify auto-immune diseases better than we’ve done with genomics.

Protagen is in Dortmund, Germany and has recently announced a partnership with the German diagnostics powerhouse, Qiagen. Stefan Muellner is the CEO of Protagen. In today’s program he explains how his company’s unique protein library and platform will drastically improve treatment for autoimmune disease.

Proteins Are Where It's At: Chip Petricoin, George Mason University


Emanuel "Chip" Petricoin, Co-Director, CAPMM, George Mason University 

Bio and Contact Info

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.

Rare Disease Horizons: The Hope of New Research and Technology, Part II: Other Omics with Mike Snyder, Stanford

Guest: Mike Snyder, PhD, Director, Center for Genomics & Personalized Medicine, Stanford

Bio and Contact Info

Listen (6:30) What are the important omics other than genomics?

Listen (6:22) Now studying hundreds of millions of markers to get the complete picture

Listen (3:30) How can a patient benefit from this research?

Listen (1:38) What is the biggest research challenge?

Listen (3:23) Other omics already having an impact on cancer treatment

Genomics is often just the beginning to understanding any disease. There are many other biological mechanisms which are part of understanding disease pathways. Dr. Mike Snyder is perhaps the most biologically tracked man in the world. As part of a research project, he is regularly combing through his own biology, looking at over hundreds of millions of biomarkers on an ongoing basis. This includes his DNA, his proteins, his epigenome, and his microbiome among other ‘omes. Dr. Snyder gives an overview of the various omics which come in to play when understanding the complexity of the human body and disease.


For more info, get the free eBook from Rare Genomics Institute

"Rare Disease Horizons: The Hope of New Research and Technology" is underwritten by the Rare Genomics Institute.




The Snyderome

Podcast brought to you by: Ingenuity Variant Analysis - Identify causal variants from human sequencing data in just hours. With Variant Analysis, you can interrogate your variants from multiple biological perspectives, explore different biological hypotheses, and identify the most promising variants for follow up.


Mike Snyder, PhD, Director, Stanford Center for Genomics and Personalized Medicine Bio and Contact Info

Chapters: (Advance the marker)

0:42 An update on iPOP

9:02 A model for the clinic?

15:39 How has the project impacted your personal life?

20:46 What is your definition for 'health?'

27:55 Power to the patient

30:11 BONUS: Thoughts on the George Church media flap about cloning Neanderthals

When Mike Snyder gets a cold, the world knows. Hundreds if not thousands of data points change in his body. Snyder, Professor of Genetics at Stanford Medical School, is perhaps the most biologically tracked person on the planet. In our last interview, Mike shared the results of a study that he's calling iPOP, or integrated personal omics profiling. The study achieved recognition around the world for predicting that he had Type 2 Diabetes. At the time he was showing no symptoms. This would not have been caught by any doctor. It was found by tracking his 'omes.' When he went into the clinic to check, his blood glucose level was indeed in disease range, and he immediately went on a strict diet and exercise regime.

In this interview, we follow up with Snyder a year later. He is still tracking his biology, collecting 40,000 data points 20 times in the last 14 months. And he has kept to his strict diet and increased exercise plan. Mike talks about what the study could mean looking forward to using this kind of data in the clinic and also how the study has impacted his personal life. For Mike, health has become a set of data points watched over time. The study has now increased to looking at his microbiome, and ten new subjects are being enrolled for similar tracking. Will the 'Synderome' become the model for omics in the clinic?

Proteomics with Caprion's Martin LeBlanc

Podcast Sponsor: Biotix, Inc. - Free Samples


Martin LeBlanc, CEO, Caprion, Bio and Contact Info

Proteomics overshadowed by DNA sequencing? Listen (1:07) Proteomics overshadowed by DNA sequencing?

Caprion and CellCarta Listen (7:17) Caprion and CellCarta

Novel drug targets and biomarker candidates Listen (4:34) Novel drug targets and biomarker candidates

Promise of proteomics and protein diagnostics Listen (3:10) Promise of proteomics and protein diagnostics

Proteomics and genomics Listen (7:11) Proteomics and genomics

A Human Proteome Project? Listen (2:57) A Human Proteome Project?

Proteomics outlook Listen (4:49) Proteomics outlook

As part of a series on Personalized Medicine, today we explore a leading company in the field of protein biomarker discovery, Caprion Proteomics. Caprion’s proprietary technology, CellCarta, enables comprehensive measurement of protein expression differences across large sets of biological samples. They have been providing protein biomarker and target identification services to over 30 major pharma industry clients in all of the major disease areas. Here to talk to us about the field of proteomics and his company is the CEO of Caprion, Martin Leblanc.

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