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The American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC; Washington) has launched a Proteomics Division in light of the increasing importance of the field of proteomics in the development of new clinical diagnostics.

AACC described “proteomics“ as referring to analysis of the complete pattern of protein expression in an organism, tissue, cell type or organelle. Clinical proteomics, the focus of the organization's new division, applies the analysis of protein expression to medical diagnostics and patient health.

A number of new methods — including mass spectrometry, simultaneous analysis of multiple proteins by 2-D electrophoresis, protein arrays and multi-dimensional chrom- atography — have shown “exciting promise“ in the discovery of new disease markers that may add rapidly to the traditional menu of tests, AACC said.

“The challenge is to try to translate marker discovery in the research laboratory into practical tests in the clinical laboratory,“ said Glen Hortin, MD, PhD, division chair. “Analysis of proteins and the diagnostic application of these analyses for many years have been important components of the field of clinical chemistry. What has changed is the addition of a powerful set of new tools that enables more detailed structural analysis of proteins and simultaneous analysis of multiple proteins rather than one protein at a time.“

AACC's Proteomics Division will develop conference programming and sessions to help laboratory professionals understand the significance of new tools and fulfill their educational needs in this field. In addition, the division will seek to establish communications with medical professionals outside the laboratory community — including physicians, researchers, manufacturers, and regulatory bodies — to further promote the effective use of proteomics-based tools in medical care.

“I would like to acknowledge the enthusiastic support of the many AACC members, staff, and leadership who contributed to the formation of the new division,“ Hortin said, “and I would also encourage any AACC member with an interest in analysis of proteins to join the new division. Our success depends on broad-based participation.“

AACC's inaugural proteomics conference, “Proteomics: A New Diagnostic Frontier,“ is set for Oct. 23—24 in Washington.

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