Mice are the most commonly used mammals in health research. Because of their key role in drug development and biomedical research, the number and diversity of mouse models continue to expand at an unprecedented rate. However, new mouse models require extensive validation to determine if they are a meaningful representation of human disease and thorough characterization in order to yield new insights into health and disease, suggest treatment approaches, and facilitate drug development. Determining the concentration of a wide variety of proteins in biofluids and tissues of mice is an important way of assessing these models. Because current scientific methods can only study a limited number of these proteins at a time, a more comprehensive approach is crucial in order to move the field forward.
Dr. Christoph Borchers and his team at the University of Victoria, in collaboration with their partner Dr. Albert Sickmann in Germany (ISAS), will take the crucial first steps toward whole proteome quantitation in mice. This project will develop new mass spectrometry (MS)-based technology for rapid analysis of 3,000 mouse proteins, or about 20% of the total number of proteins, in 20 different tissues. The technology will be provided as a service, as well as formatted as an easy-to-use kit that can be used by researchers worldwide. Furthermore, the team will publish reference ranges that will help researchers interpret the data they obtain from running the kits. This technology will extend scientific reach for a more in-depth and complete picture of how the full complement of proteins in the genome is involved in health and disease. The new technology will be commercialized by a Canadian biotechnology company, MRM Proteomics Inc., which will work with its marketing and distribution partners to achieve global reach for the products, thereby generating significant revenue to fund further product development, grow the business, and build the biotech sector.