Final day at ASMS (Thursday)

I’m back home now. The last 48 hours passed in a big rush with jet lag thrown in, so I haven’t managed to blog until today. I can’t believe the response we’ve had to Progenesis LC-MS in Salt Lake City; even on the last day, we were still getting enquiries. This included a surge of people arranging demos of Progenesis SameSpots, so we suspect there may have been a talk with that software in on the last morning.

Saying farewell to Salt Lake City before the long road home

To finish the blogging from this year’s ASMS meeting, I’ll summarise the highlights. I’ll start with a brief line about Wednesday night since I finished my penultimate blog entry and then went to see more customers including Dougie Lamont from Dundee, UK. We had a good time catching up and I’m looking forward to working with Dougie on some data analysis that will show interesting results for his research and our software performance.  That will be promoted when we’ve done the work.

Talking to Progenesis LC-MS users about collaborating on data analysis

The highlights from the last few days can be summarised from conversations I’ve had with people I’ve met there and chatting to my colleagues on the stand. Overall, it’s been a very successful event for everyone including the ASMS organisers. I was told there were over 650 posters presented each day for 4 days, so a total that exceeds 2500! I can believe it. Each day, we all took turns looking at poster sections relevant to us, so not even all of it, and it took us over 2 hours each.

We had a lot of visitors to our stand saying they’d seen Progenesis LC-MS cited on posters. I only knew of 10 for sure—some of which I’ve blogged about already—but there were more by the sounds of it. One visitor to the booth said that last year 80% of the posters based on proteomics analysis used spectral counting. This year that has dropped to ~50%, with a great number reporting use of ion abundance based quantification.

We’ve been doing a lot of demos at the booth as I over-enthused about the last few days. 🙂 Martin and Mark, my colleagues in Sales, told me there’s been a high volume of people actively seeking out the stand and requesting a demo. The feedback from these initial product demonstrations shows Progenesis LC-MS is acknowledged as really addressing the needs of label-free LC-MS quantification, especially overcoming the limitations of spectral counting.

This feedback and the rise in posters using ion abundance based quantification could explain the interest in Progenesis LC-MS, which is based on a unique approach using ion abundance based measurements. It will have been helped by this poster abstract from Bernhard Kusters group at Technical University Munich, which was presented by Zhixiang Wu at ASMS this week. This poster compared MS instensity and spectrum counting for label-free LC-MS quantification and said:

Quantification by MS intensity (Progenesis LC-MS) clearly outperformed spectrum counting. Only 0.5% of all intensity values (661 /133042) were missed in Progenesis data while 52.2% (26751/51272) of all spectrum counting values were zero.”

As well as learning about the limitations of label-free quantification using spectral counts, I’ve heard about the problems that users of other label-free LC-MS analysis software are finding. Many of them are now considering Progenesis LC-MS as the best option. I can’t share details but suffice to say that several of our key benefits and features make us an attractive alternative, including:

  • A “quantify then identify” approach
  • Ability to rapidly generate inclusion lists for improving coverage
  • Reporting results at a protein level with quantitative and qualitative information togther
  • High quality alignment and co-detect of features across many runs
  • Good support and responsive on-going development

Having Ian Morns, our Development Manager, here has been extremely useful for hearing that first hand. He’s also been taking people through detailed, behind-the-scenes workings of the software as well as getting feedback on what people want as we develop Progenesis LC-MS and Progenesis SameSpots.

One great thing for Ian was doing several show-and-tells using our new protoype for handling pre-fractionated samples. I mentioned this before and we’ve had the same feature addition requested each time. It was one we kind of expected, so it’s been good to have that validated and we can work towards the final version with confidence. However, we’ll be doing some previews of the beta-version when it’s available.

I hope you’ve enjoyed following my posts from Salt Lake City as much as I’ve enjoyed being there learning more about Mass Spec, catching up with customers, potential new customers and some good friends. Hopefully, it’s encouraged you to get a demo of Progenesis LC-MS and/or download Progenesis SameSpots and try it on your own data.

All I can say now is: if you’re thinking of going to ASMS next year, I would strongly recommend it!

PS: Before I left Salt Lake City I had a meeting to demo Progenesis SameSpots to someone in the area. What I learned from that will need a blog post of its own. If you’re a PI thinking of getting into 2D DIGE proteomics and needing to publish to get grant funding, don’t buy anything until you’ve read it! It could save you months of work and $1,600 per experiment…