Alliance of Glycobiologists

Teams of the Alliance

Pierce Tumor Glycomics Laboratory

Principal Investigator: J. Michael Pierce, PhD
Institution: University of Georgia, Athens, GA

Our project, Discovery and Development of Cancer Glycomarkers, is a joint collaboration between our laboratories at the CCRC, which include Karen Abbott, Lance Wells, Kevin Dobbin, and Mike Tiemeyer, those at TGen, in Phoenix, AZ, Daniel Von Hoff, Haiyong Han, and Mike Demeure, and Caerus Discovery in Manassas, VA, which includes Cohava Gelber and S?ren Mogelsvang.

We have identified a novel N-glycan biomarker for pancreatic cancer defined by a suite of antibodies developed by Caerus Discovery. Screening >150 tissue sections by immunohistochemistry showed a high sensitivity and specificity for this marker in pancreatic carcinoma, even at early stages. Initial studies have detected the biomarker in serum from pancreatic cancer patients, suggesting that assays may be refined to develop it into a diagnostic test. Moreover, we are studying the glycomics and proteomics of stellate cells that are found tightly associated with pancreatic carcinoma and in many cases block chemotherapy from penetrating these tumors. These studies are likely to point to markers that can be used to develop additional molecular targets to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic cancer.

In addition, we have identified a specific glycoform of periostin in tissues and in serum as a marker for invasive breast carcinoma. These tests are being expanded to screen large numbers of test and control sera to determine the efficacy of this serum marker. We have also developed a means to separate many GPI-anchored glycoproteins from serum and tissue. Two glycoproteins in serum associate with the presence of breast cancer. These biomarkers are being tested in sera from larger populations of patients and controls.

Many of our glycoproteomics technologies have been developed in our NIGMS National Center for Biomedical Glycomics at the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center, University of Georgia. We have state-of-the-art instrumentation and expertise to analyze glycan and glycopeptide structures and the expression of transcripts that regulate human glycans expression. The National Glycomics Center is focused on understanding the regulation of the glycome during embryonic stem cell, iPS cell, and cancer stem cell differentiation, as well as identifying potential cell surface biomarkers of these various cell types. Our National Center also has a vigorous analytical service program, and offers workshops on analysis of glycan structure:

Synopsis of Research and Network Resources


In the Media:

"Tracking a killer," Exit Disclaimer Maximizing Research Opportunities,online feature, Aug 22, 2007.

Survivor a beacon in cancer research . Ken Foskett, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Oct. 22, 2007.


Methods to Identify and Quantify Oligosaccharide Modifications of Glycoproteins (US 7,351,544).

Provisional Application: Glycoprotein Cancer Biomarkers Filed: June 11, 2010. (serial # 12/814,184).

Provisional Application: Cancer-specific Glycans and Glycopeptides Filed: July 13, 2010 (serial# 61/363,782).

Provisional Application: Alpha Toxin Detection of GPI Anchored Proteins Filed: August 6, 2010 (serial# 61/371,326).

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Last updated: 9 July 2014