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Journal of Healthcare Engineering
Volume 3, Issue 4, Pages 503-534
http://dx.doi.org/10.1260/2040-2295.3.4.503
Research Article

Protein Analytical Assays for Diagnosing, Monitoring, and Choosing Treatment for Cancer Patients

Alicia D. Powers and Sean P. Palecek

Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

Received 1 June 2012; Accepted 1 August 2012

Copyright © 2012 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Cancer treatment is often hindered by inadequate methods for diagnosing the disease or insufficient predictive capacity regarding therapeutic efficacy. Targeted cancer treatments, including Bcr-Abl and EGFR kinase inhibitors, have increased survival for some cancer patients but are ineffective in other patients. In addition, many patients who initially respond to targeted inhibitor therapy develop resistance during the course of treatment. Molecular analysis of cancer cells has emerged as a means to tailor treatment to particular patients. While DNA analysis can provide important diagnostic information, protein analysis is particularly valuable because proteins are more direct mediators of normal and diseased cellular processes. In this review article, we discuss current and emerging protein assays for improving cancer treatment, including trends toward assay miniaturization and measurement of protein activity.