ALISO VIEJO, Calif.—Clarient, a GE Healthcare company, hasintroduced MultiOmyx technology, which company officials describe as the firstlab-developed test to assess multiple proteins at single-cell level. Designedto aid in the pathologist's diagnosis of certain difficult lymphoma cases bydoing more with less tissue, the technology may provide a more complete pictureof a patient's cancer and help explain tumor behavior and growth.
"As pathologists, we have to establish a diagnosis with asingle piece of tissue," explains Dr. Steve Bloom, Clarient's chief medical officer."As we look for more specific cancers and subtypes, we have to answer morequestions with less tissue, sometimes as little as 5 microns."
Sometimes the piece of tissue is too small to address all ofthe therapy questions, according to Bloom. There have to be many stains on thesame piece of tissue, and not every slice is adept at giving the right answers.He makes the analogy of a cherry pie where some slices have the cherries andothers only the sauce.
"We're looking for specific cells," he says. "Sometimes weexhaust the tissue trying to answer all of the questions, but we still want tokeep residual tissue for future research or to go back and look at it again."
He adds, "MultiOmyx addresses the right cells and allows forretention for the future. Its advantages include cost savings from not havingto do multiple biopsies, preventing the discomfort of doing additionalbiopsies, preserving residual tissue and obtaining more consistent results."
The technology was created out of the GE Global ResearchCenter to do multiple stains on a single slide. When GE acquired Clarient,Bloom was involved in the technology transfer, taking a fairly complexprocedure and enabling pathologists to do it.
"We want to allow precision medicine to become even moreprecise," Bloom says. "Eventually, we want to be able to profile what is uniqueabout each person's tumor and customize therapy specific to that person'scancer."
Additionally, he says clinicians want to understand all ofthe interactions on one cell—how all complex proteins interact with each other.After analyzing the proteins, clinicians need bioinformatics software to"dissect complex interactions and turn them into insights, to put them into aprofile to tell doctors how to best treat patients," Bloom explains.
MultiOmyx uses fluorescence to provide quantitative analysisof antibodies and allows for as many as 65 proteins to be examined on a singletissue sample. It creates a "digital map" of the tumor, giving each cell an"address" and enabling a clear graphic representation of protein expression.Matching this map to known biosignatures gives researchers a more accuraterepresentation of the exact characteristics of the tumor and may provideclinicians with a clearer view to aid the diagnosis. Additionally, it enablesthem to identify patterns in the tissue by analyzing each cell and biomarkerindividually, or as a cluster, and thus get a level of understanding of thebiological process that could not be achieved via traditional methods,according to the company.
The Hodgkin Lymphoma (HL) Profile by MultiOmyx helps toassess nine unique antibodies on a single formalin-fixed paraffin-embeddedtissue section to aid in differential diagnosis of Classical HL. In clinicalvalidation, this single-slide assay demonstrated high levels of accuracy,diagnostic reproducibility and repeatability and high sensitivity of allimmunofluorescent stains in comparison to traditional immunohistochemistryperformed on the same samples. The correlation study identified unique caseswhere MultiOmyx demonstrated improved performance.
A clinical paper written by a team of scientists from GEGlobal Research and published in Proceedings of the National Academy ofSciences (PNAS) described the relevance ofthe MultiOmyx technology. The paper detailed the different ways GE is usingimage data to visualize cancer and the relationship between differentbiomarkers and the tumor environment and suggests that the technology could bebroadly applicable to problems in basic biological research, drug discovery anddevelopment and companion and clinical diagnostics.
"Now we can look at huge databases of raw data and askcomplex questions," Bloom says. "It's an entire facet of analytical capabilitythat didn't exist before."