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Demand for high speed analysis drives clinical lab developments

1st April 2013


Every year consulting company Frost & Sullivan (F&S) presents its technology leadership award to the company that has pioneered and steered technological advances in its industry with cutting-edge products and concepts.

This year's winner is Matrix Science, a company that develops and markets bioinformatics products and services in the fields of mass spectrometry and proteomics.

Currently one of the hottest areas of life science research, proteomics is the study of the protein complement of a cell or tissue in a specific physiological state. In recent years, mass spectrometry has become the method of choice for protein identification and characterisation, analysing large numbers of samples at high speed.

Matrix Science won the award with Mascot, a search engine, which uses mass spectrometry data to identify proteins from primary sequence databases (Fig. 1). While a number of similar programs are available, Mascot is different in that it integrates all of the proven methods of searching.

Matrix provides the Mascot search algorithm both through its web search interface and by licensing the Mascot product line. The company is positioned as a key leader in this market segment.

The company meets a wide array of customer needs with additional Mascot modules such as Mascot Cluster, Mascot Daemon, Mascot Distiller, and Mascot Parser.

Technological innovations across its range of products and services, coupled with the flexibility of being able to couple various modules to create tailored solutions, has enabled Matrix Science to strengthen its relationships with both end-users and mass spectrometer vendors. Applied Biosystems, MDS Sciex, Bruker, and Shimadzu have integrated Mascot into their products to enable end-users to derive maximum benefit from their instruments. In clinical pathology, diagnosis is a multi-step process in which the pathologist views a prepared tissue sample on an optical microscope.

The pathologist switches repeatedly between a low magnification, wide field view of the whole sample to a high magnification, narrow field view of selected portions of the sample.

A diagnosis is made and a report written and the sample archived. This process is highly skilled, time consuming, requires physical access to the specimen and can suffer from sample deterioration in the long term. A marketing opportunity exists for any process that minimises these inherent disadvantages, and also allows easy digital manipulation of an image.

A demonstration model has been developed by researchers in the engineering department of Oxford University that is capable of acquiring, storing, distributing and viewing images of entire standard pathology slides with microscopic resolution.





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