Our project went according to plan, with a few small modifications along the way. Initially, we had proposed to incorporate gender profiling in attempt to understand the differences in serum proteomics profiles in men and women. As planned the information concerning gender was obtained and used to effectively design an additional project, to analyze serum differences between Alzheimer’s and non-Alzheimer’s individuals. Utilizing the novel capillary liquid chromatography method outlined in our proposal we were able to analyze our serum samples. By comparing the resulting mass spectra using specialized statistical methods we have been able to identify several biomarkers. The information we have found and are still finding will provide us with important information about the presence of proteomics profiles. So far the results are turning of the information that we’d hoped and hypothesized we’d find.
As we began to perform statistical tests to evaluate the importance of our possible biomarker peaks, we ran into some unexpected challenges. In order to determine the significance of a biomarker peak we need to compare the difference of the intensities of the case versus control with another peak known as a reference peak. Reference peaks are valuable in that we expect the level of peptides for all cases and controls to be very similar for this region. If the reference peak and potential biomarker peak both have similar differences in intensity for cases and controls then we cannot conclude that varying levels of peptides at the biomarker region are due to the disease but are for some other reason.
Challenges arouse because we had selected reference peaks, which did not accurately portray the similar intensities for both case and control. This was a reason for many of our initial statistical tests to come out negative and was cause for us to back track and find new reference markers to use in comparison. This process was repeated for various sets as we would discover that the reference peak itself was not the best depiction for comparing peptide levels. Due to the importance of the reference marker, our only option was to continue to identify possible reference markers and test them all to see how well they could be used as data in our experiment.
Alzheimer’s Disease in general is in need of much research and development to help deter the effects of this debilitating disorder. Our research is specifically involved with the identification of proteins and peptides within the serum that can be linked to AD. However, there will be much to be revealed as to the function of those proteins and how their specific role is influencing this disorder. The most valuable research that will result is the linking of proteins to being a cause of dementia and other health concerns associated with AD. Through discoveries such as these we will open the doors for scientists to develop effective treatments for the millions currently suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
My group has gone through over 25% of the data and has found 12 statistically significant biomarkers that we are running further tests on to identify and prove their link to Alzheimer’s Disease. Though this research project is not close to being finished, our results look promising and we have begun to take the necessary steps to present this research at conferences this summer.
Though our novel liquid chromatography mass spectrometry method my group us able to look at all the levels of proteins and peptides in the human serum. With this large amount of data still left to analyze we expect to find many more statistically significant biomarkers. Also, we will soon complete our testing of the 12 found statistically significant biomarkers allowing us to judge whether or not these biomarkers are truly linked to Alzheimer’s Disease. If our results are significant we expect to publish this research right away. These findings will pave the way for future research and eventual prevention and a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease.