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Personalized and molecular-based cancer treatment depends on biomarkers. Biomarker research and assay development is
becoming increasingly important because it drives drug discovery, clinical diagnostics, prognostics and treatment decisions.
Immunohistochemistry (IHC), which examines protein localization with preserved tissue morphology, is one of the most
important assays to detect protein biomarkers. This technique has been applied in many facets of biological science, especially
in assays required using archival formalin-fixed, paraffin embedded (FFPE) tissues. The major challenges for IHC are sensitivity
and quantification. AQUA (Automatic Quantitative Analysis) is a fluorescence IHC imaging analysis technology that could
automatically quantify protein expression in tissues with high sensitivity and accuracy. AQUA technology was applied for both
basic and clinical research. Using this technology, biomarkers that related to cetuximab treatment in a mouse xenograft model
were identified. The expression of certain proteins in cancer patient cohorts were determined and correlated to the protein
expression levels with pathologic and clinical outcomes. Several proteins that could serve as prognostic or predictive biomarkers
were found. With the emergence of new biomarkers from recent genetic discoveries, numerous novel targeted therapies for
cancer are already in clinical trials, with many more to be developed in the coming decades. Personalized medicine is about the
identification of patients that are most likely to benefit from treatment and assess treatment response. AQUA technology can
dramatically speed up the progress of such challenges and therefore represents the future for biomarker research.
Dong-Hua Yang is an assistant professor at Fox Chase Cancer Center, where she takes charge of the Tissue Research Service at the Biosample
Repository Core Facility. She is a leading expert in the field of immunohistochemistry (IHC) and quantitative analysis. She has applied IHC to
study the molecular alterations of known and novel signaling pathways that regulate embryogenesis, organ morphogenesis and tumorigenesis.
Her research results can be found in prestigious journals such as Development, Am. J. Path., JBC et. al. Recently she extended the automatic
quantitative analysis (AQUA) IHC assay system for tumor biomarker research. She serves as the editorial board of the Journal of Cancer Research
Updates and the Journal of Analytical Oncology. She is a adhoc reviewer in number of journals including Biomarkers, Biochemical Pharmacology,
Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Current Proteomics, Experimental Neurology et.al.
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