A key element of the project is the characterisation and quality control of antibody libraries. Initially, antibodies against 384 human proteins will be tested, with the aim of developing products that will allow the simultaneous identification of hundreds of biologically- and medically-relevant proteins from a biological sample.
The aim is to develop proteon-detecting chips that are ''fast, cost effective, and with a high sensitivity,'' commented Scienion's chief executive Dr Holger Eickhoff, who added that the company also plans to offer customised antibody chips to customer requirements.
The Max-Planck team will focus on the characterization of the antibodies, while Scienion will work on the technological development of the chips. A crucial step is to develop an efficient and reproducible procedure for docking the antibodies to the chip surface without destroying their binding specificity.
Two techniques will be used for the detection of the binding proteins or antigens): Probes will be supplied with a fluorescence dye and analysed with a fluorescence spectrometer. Additionally, the mass spectrum of the binding proteins can be detected by MALDI-TOF-MS in a high throughput manner.Scienion will develop controls essential for data analysis and then integrate these controls into the chip layout for quality control.
Scienion notes that there is already a demand for this technological innovation for diagnostic applications. Its co-called Biochip technology is already being used at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in Germany in a project of the German National Genome Research Net (NGFN), for the detection and characterisation of neuronal proteins.
Project coordinator Prof Erich Wanker said: "Antibody chips provide us with new opportunities for a fast and parallel analysis of protein-protein interactions of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson or Huntington's chorea.»
«The results of these studies contribute to a better understanding of molecular processes in the course of the diseases and hopefully will lead to the identification of new targets for innovative drugs."