"Surprised and happy” is how Arturo Ramirez described his reaction to winning the prize for best poster at the recent Microarray World Congress in San Francisco. Ramirez, a graduate research assistant in the Lampe Lab, in the Public Health Sciences Division, said he was very motivated by the acknowledgement and honored to have his research selected from a field of “great science.”
"It is nice to see Arturo's hard work recognized by the Microarray World Congress organizers," said mentor Dr. Paul Lampe of the poster entitled “Use of Antibody Microarrays for Ovarian Cancer Biomarker Discovery.” The poster presented Ramirez’s results using an in-house fabricated antibody microarray to discover novel ovarian cancer biomarkers in serum.
With early diagnosis, ovarian cancer is a disease with a survival rate of about 90 percent. However, early diagnosis only takes place in about 20 percent of cases. Survival rates are reduced to around 30 percent once the disease is more advanced. “My project is aimed at finding new protein markers in serum that allow early diagnosis of this disease, Ramirez said. “I use antibody microarrays to screen serum for elevated levels of proteins in patients with ovarian cancer with respect to women without the disease.”
Ramirez used antibodies from two sources: a library of recombinant single chain antibodies (scFv), which can be produced in bacteria, and thousands of full-length commercially available antibodies. These microarrays allow scientists to compare the levels of thousands of proteins across hundreds of samples using only a few drops of blood. Using several different techniques, Ramirez and colleagues were able to identify a set of proteins that are elevated in ovarian cancer—proteins which may prove targets for early detection biomarkers of ovarian cancer.
Ramirez, who is finishing his fifth year in the MCB doctorate program at the University of Washington and Hutchinson Center, was the sole presenter of the poster. Drs. Lampe, Martin McIntosh and Christian Loch, and Yan Liu and Yuzheng Zhang, all from PHS, were co-authors.