SAN DIEGO — Plasma will be the focus of an international effort to plan the emergence of human proteomics, attendees were told at the third annual Human Proteome Project meeting Jan. 15-16. Unlike the human genome, the proteome is multi-dimensional, speakers emphasized. Organs and each of the various body fluids have their own proteomes, which change constantly in response to environmental factors and other signals.

"Human blood plasma represents the deepest and largest version of the human proteome," declared Leigh Anderson, chief executive officer of the Plasma Proteome Institute in Washington, D.C. Assuming that 500 genes generate blood, about 40,000 forms of proteins are secreted in plasma, plus 500,000 forms of tissue protein, and 10 million clonal forms of immunoglobulin, Anderson said.

Faced with such enormous complications, human proteomics researchers are just beginning to integrate technologies into drug discovery, diagnostics, and data management. But big pharma has embraced the field,...

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