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The Center for Biomarker Discovery and Translation is located at The Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA. It was founded in the year 2000 by Professor Daniel W. Chan as the Center for Biomarker Discovery (CBD). With the changing landscapes of molecular medicine, the name was changed to the Center for Biomarker Discovery and Translation (CBDT) in 2010.


The Center for Biomarker Discovery was created with a team of scientists and clinicians with diverse backgrounds. It was our belief from the beginning that scientific innovation requires creative thinking and non-traditional approaches. The initial team was small, and consisted of both full time and part time faculty, fellows and technicians from the Clinical Chemistry Division.


The early team - CBD   

Director: Daniel W Chan, Ph.D.

Investigators: Scott Kuzdzal, Ph.D., Jinong Li, Ph.D., Darryl Palmer-Toy, M.D., Ph.D., Lori Sokoll, Ph.D., Zhen Zhang, Ph.D.

Clinical and Research Fellows: William Clarke, Ph.D., Alex Rai, Ph.D., Young Wang, M.D., Ph.D.

Technicians: Jason Rosenzweig, Bonnie Cameron. 


In the early days, the major funding source of our Center was from industry. The Clinical Chemistry Division, with Dr. Chan as the Director, had a successful track record in the research collaboration with diagnostic companies. We were partners in the development, clinical trials and FDA clearance/approval of all the major tumor markers being used in the clinical laboratory. Since 2004, we have been the Cancer Center of Excellence for Abbott Diagnostics.


The focus of the CBD was to discover and validate novel biomarkers for the detection, diagnosis, classification, management and understanding of human diseases. The emphasis was on the development of clinical diagnostics for the major types of cancers, such as ovarian, prostate, breast, colon and pancreatic. Our effort on biomarker discovery was greatly enhanced with the collaboration agreement with Ciphergen Biosystems, Inc. At that time, the biomarker research community was very excited with the Surface-enhanced laser desorption ionization (SELDI) mass spectrometry and ProteinChip technology from Ciphergen. With this agreement, we not only had early access to this technology with any new developments, but also significant funding for mining serum proteome. The major outcome of this collaboration was the discovery of a panel of biomarkers for ovarian cancer. Dr. Eric Fung from Ciphergen worked closely with us and outside clinicians in the validation and clinical trials of these biomarkers. In 2009, the FDA cleared/approved this panel of biomarkers as a clinical test - OVA1, the first proteomic IVDMIA (In vitro diagnostic multivariate index assays).  


The Early Detection Research Network (EDRN), an initiative of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), brings together dozens of institutions to help accelerate the translation of biomarker information into clinical applications and to evaluate new ways of testing cancer in its earliest stages and for cancer risk. The EDRN was launched in the year 2000. We participated in this network as the Johns Hopkins Clinical Validation Center (CVC) for prostate cancer. From 2005, we have been awarded as a Biomarker Reference Lab (BRL) with Dr. Chan as the Principal Investigator. In addition, we have been awarded as a Biomarker Development Lab (BDL) in 2010 with Dr. Hui Zhang as the Principal Investigator. As of today, the EDRN, with industrial partners, have successfully obtained FDA clearance/approval for 5 cancer diagnostics for clinical use. Our Center was involved in the discovery, validation and/or clinical study in three out of 5 clinical diagnostics, OVA1, proPSA as phi and PCA3 as Progensa.


The Clinical Proteomic Tumor Analysis Consortium (CPTAC) is a comprehensive and coordinated effort to accelerate the understanding of the molecular basis of cancer through the application of robust, quantitative, proteomic technologies and workflows. The overarching goal of CPTAC is to improve our ability to diagnose, treat and prevent cancer.  To achieve this goal in a scientifically rigorous manner, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) launched CPTAC to systematically identify proteins that derive from alterations in cancer genomes and related biological processes, and provide this data with accompanying assays and protocols to the public. In 2011, we were awarded the CPTAC center at Johns Hopkins – “Proteome characterization center: a genoproteomics pipeline for cancer biomarkers” with Drs. Daniel W. Chan, Hui Zhang and Zhen Zhang as Principal Investigators.


For additional research projects and grants from NIH and industries, please see our “Current projects and grants” section.



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