Agilent collaborating on research into ALS

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  • Published: Aug 27, 2015
  • Author: Jon Evans
  • Source: Agilent Technologies
  • Suppliers: Agilent Technologies
  • Channels: HPLC / Base Peak

Agilent Technologies has announced a collaboration with Steven Gross, a faculty member in the Department of Pharmacology at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, US, on advancing research in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Agilent will provide the latest mass spectrometry technology to support Gross’s research, which aims to work towards an understanding of how the most common form of this disease develops in the body.

Along with Qiuying Chen, an assistant research professor of pharmacology at Weill Cornell, and Ben Schwartz, a student in the pharmacology doctoral program at Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Gross is studying the most common form of ALS. ALS is a deadly and progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, and is also characterized by impaired metabolic control.

Gross is an internationally recognized expert in the use of mass spectrometry-based metabolomics, with expertise in pharmacology and cell biology, particularly in relation to the role of nitric oxide as a signaling molecule. Under the collaboration, Gross’s laboratory will gain access to Agilent 6230B LC TOF and 6550A LC Q-TOF systems.

Sporadic ALS accounts for about 90% of all ALS cases and has no obvious genetic driver. Gross and his collaborators – Giovanni Manfredi, a professor of neuroscience in the Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute at Weill Cornell, and Lorenz Studer, director of Sloan Kettering Institute’s Center for Stem Cell Biology – are investigating the molecular underpinnings of this form of ALS. The Agilent tools will empower the investigators to apply a multi-disciplinary-based approach to understanding the roots of this disease. Accurate-mass mass spectrometry will allow these researchers to test the hypothesis that fibroblasts express systemic metabolic markers that inform ALS.

'We’re very excited to ally ourselves with Agilent to extend our planned attack on the sporadic form of ALS,' Gross said. 'Our newly established scientific collaboration offers a rare opportunity to obtain and integrate multi-omics data, with the potential to yield an unprecedented understanding of the molecular basis for this devastating disease. We anticipate that this scientific work with Agilent will continue into the future as we apply multi-omics approaches to other poorly understood diseases with unmet clinical needs.'

'Translational research using a combination of biological disciplines – genomics, proteomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics – is an emerging trend in academia,' said Steven Fischer, market director for life science research in academia and government at Agilent. 'Most researchers, however, do not know how to perform multi-omic analysis, and successful examples are needed. Agilent is working with the Gross lab at Weill Cornell to advance the multi-omics-based approach to disease research, using sporadic ALS to demonstrate the power of this method.'

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