The Human Albuminome Initiative
The structure and function of human serum albumin has interested researchers for some time. HSA is the most abundant human protein, representing over 50% of the total protein circulating in our bloodstream.

However, due to its large size and complex structure, the function of human serum albumin has been poorly understood to date. A team of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (JHU) researchers discovered that peptides and proteins (albumin-bound peptide and protein complex) that are bound to serum albumin, as well as the albumin molecule itself, can yield important data for disease diagnosis and management, particularly for cardiovascular disease. The JHU team’s initial investigations have identified at least 35 different proteins that are carried by albumin along with drugs circulating in the bloodstream, as well as important structural changes that occur to the albumin protein in cardiovascular disease.

This technology was developed in the laboratory of Jennifer Van Eyk, PhD., Professor of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and exclusively licensed worldwide to our company.

The Van Eyk laboratory has found that the albumin molecule itself can undergo a specific alteration during myocardial ischemia that can serve as a biomarker for an M.I. event. This finding has enormous clinical significance, since physicians need a more specific and rapid test to decide when a patient has myocardial ischemia that will improve with medication, versus ischemia due to an actual myocardial infarction, needing an emergency procedure. M.I. results in a lack of adequate blood low/oxygen delivery to the heart. The first hour following the onset of ischemia from a myocardial infarction has been termed ‘the golden hour.’ Definitive treatment during that hour usually results in survival; treatment later than that significantly increases the chances of death or long term complications.

Protea is advancing the JHU technology to develop new tools for albumin capture and analysis (see ProteaPrep albumin depletion products) and new capabilities to evaluate proteins and drugs binding to albumin. Most drugs have some degree of protein binding in the bloodstream, and the majority of protein-bound drugs in circulation are bound to albumin. If diseases affect the albuminome, then those diseases are likely to affect protein-bound drug levels as well.

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