iMALDI-based Assays for Protein Activity to Improve Patient Selection for Therapeutic Akt Inhibitors in Cancer Treatment

Detailed profiling with modern analytical technologies has shown that most cancer types are composed of multiple small sub-populations with distinct molecular signatures. Correct identification of the cancer subtype can predict its response to a particular treatment. Genomics has commonly been applied for this purpose, but in some cases, our ability to predict drug response may be enhanced by instead measuring the drug’s direct protein target. As an example, AstraZeneca recently developed a selective inhibitor of the Akt protein that arrests tumour cell growth and has shown therapeutic potential for patients for whom no other treatment was effective. In this project, we will develop a test that can be used to identify the patients most likely to respond to this drug by directly assessing the abundance and activity of the Akt protein in patients’ tumours. This assay can then be used by AstraZeneca in their research studies to help predict who will respond to the drug. Furthermore, it can be applied by oncologists to get additional information to help guide treatment decisions when prescribing drugs. As a biotechnology company specializing in proteomics, MRM Proteomics Inc. (MRMP) will commercialize the test in the form of a laboratory-developed test (LDT).

Faculty Supervisor:

Brad Nelson


Robert Popp


MRM Proteomics Inc


Biochemistry / Molecular biology


Medical devices


University of Victoria



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