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The international effort to chart the proteome — all the proteins in the human body — is gathering pace, driven by the need for better diagnosis and treatment of diseases. Now China, which is spearheading the Human Liver Proteome Project (HLPP), is pledging US$250 million to the cause if its labs make it to the production phase.

This article explains how China’s project is just one component of the Human Proteome Organisation (HUPO), which is also overseeing work by the United States on human blood plasma, and by Germany on the brain. So far, 37 Chinese labs have signed on to the HLPP, and the production phase is expected to begin in 2006.

The HLPP aims to link liver proteins to liver diseases, which kill hundreds of thousands in China every year. While experts say that confirming this will take more samples than the projects will be able to handle, HUPO’s fourth initiative could come to the rescue. Its proposed library of antibodies could do the tracking for them.
 
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Reference: Science, 302, 1316 (2003)

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