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Having finished a draft of the human genome - or the molecular sequence of DNA that comprises human genes - scientists are now tackling even tougher goals: determining genetic variation, studying gene expression and defining the human proteome. With the help of advanced sensor technology from Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) (NYSE: TXN), scientists will be able to identify, functionally characterize and describe many of the two million or so proteins that make up and control the workings of the human body. This next frontier is known as proteomics.

"If DNA are the building blocks of human genes, then proteins are the building blocks of the human body," said Andreas Huhmer, Member of the Technical Staff, TI. "The variety and diversity of the proteome, the entire complement of proteins in a human body, is significantly more complex than the DNA in the human genome. Not only are scientists analyzing the make-up of proteins, but they also want to observe how their shapes affect their function, how they interact with other molecules and how proteins work together in organisms."
With a new generation of TI’s Spreeta surface plasmon resonance sensor technology, scientists will be able to conduct experiments in real-time and in parallel, shedding more light on how proteins function within the human body under both normal and disease conditions.

Spreeta sensors are based on an established technology involving a very sensitive optical transduction method, called Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR), which is capable of observing molecular interactions as they occur, in real-time, and without the need for artificial labeling techniques that can affect molecular function. SPR sensors have previously only been found in large and expensive lab equipment that was beyond the reach of the majority of life science and medical research laboratories. Through miniaturization and systematic cost-reductions, TI’s Spreeta sensors can now be incorporated into smaller, less expensive instrumentation, allowing for more widespread use of this powerful analytical technology.

"TI’s new advanced technology, Spreeta 2000, sports a volume that is one-tenth that of its predecessor. In addition, Spreeta 2000 has been produced in a multi-channel format, allowing the observation of many experimental outcomes at once."

Jim Mahoney, president and CEO of Prolinx, one of the first companies to adopt TI’s news Spreeta technology, said, "By combining Prolinx’s expertise in surface chemistry with the engineering and manufacturing capabilities of TI, we will be able to rapidly bring to the genomics and proteomics markets biosensors that are smaller, easier to use and have greater throughput than existing instruments. This type of technological breakthrough will drive research and drug discovery developments by allowing this powerful technology to become ubiquitous in laboratories, leading to the realization of the goals of the New Biology."

"Before the advent of TI’s inexpensive and mass-produced Spreeta sensors, scientific research methods allowed for a limited number of experiments to be conducted simultaneously. Spreeta’s incorporation into biosensor instrumentation will accelerate the experimental process by allowing arrays of hundreds of Spreeta sensors to perform experiments in parallel and to be connected to a high-speed processor like one of TI’s digital signal processors (DSPs). DSPs are as much as ten times faster than the typical desktop microprocessor and can be used to process and analyze data from arrays of Spreeta sensors, resulting in thousands of simultaneous experiments being automatically analyzed, manipulated and stored for review by scientists."

"Identifying and monitoring proteins on the scale of the proteome, which can involve tens or even hundreds of thousands of proteins, has been largely impossible with current technology or, at least, prohibitively expensive," said Dr. Jerry Elkind, manager, Analytical Sensors, TI. "Spreeta technology will dramatically accelerate the experimentation process cost-effectively."

"The parallel nature of Spreeta technology will be particularly useful to pharmaceutical and drug discovery companies who are interested in analyzing the detailed molecular interactions of a large number of drug candidates as quickly as possible. Spreeta’s new multi-channel capabilities will also prove valuable in medical diagnostic applications where several diagnostic markers are typically measured at once.

Diagnostics and Quality Control

Spreeta technology, which places very powerful measurement capability in an ultra-small, ultra-low-cost package, can also be deployed in a wide range of applications beyond basic research into the human proteome. With its ability to observe changes in chemical compositions in real-time, Spreeta can be used in a variety of applications, such as food and beverage processing, water quality assessment, environmental monitoring, medical diagnostics and hazardous materials management. Spreeta uses what is known in the electronics industry as mixed-signal technology. The term "mixed-signal" stems from the fact that information from the real world, which is essentially analog data, must be converted into digital signals to be manipulated by electronic processors like TI’s DSPs.

"More information on Spreeta, including how to obtain samples of the technology for evaluation, is available on the World Wide Web at

About Texas Instruments

Texas Instruments Incorporated is the world leader in digital signal processing and analog technologies, the semiconductor engines of the Internet age. The company’s businesses also include materials and controls, and educational and productivity solutions. TI is headquartered in Dallas, Texas and has manufacturing or sales operations in more than 25 countries.

Texas Instruments is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol TXN. More information is located on the web site at


Spreeta is a trademark of Texas Instruments Incorporated.

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