Universal Cancer Test: One Test to Diagnose Them All?

Image 10 News First

Image 10 News First

A "universal fingerprint" has been found in the DNA of common cancers that could one day enable a diagnosis to be made with a simple ten-minute blood test.

The researchers explained that they developed the technology after observing that different chemical patterns on DNA altered its ability to interact with metals, such as gold.

When circulating tumor DNA fragments are placed in water, they begin to fold into 3D shapes different than DNA from healthy cells-driven by the dense clusters of methyl groups found along DNA molecules that have been reprogrammed by cancer.

The test, which is still in its early stages as the team search for a commercial partner, has so far been trialled on 200 tissue samples and has detected cancer with up to 90 per cent accuracy.

Senior researcher Matt Trau said it had been hard to find a "simple marker" that would distinguish cancer cells from healthy ones.

The researchers found that in healthy cells, methyl groups are spread out across the genome. This "unique" signature was studied in all types of breast cancer looked at as well as various other types of cancer, including bowel, prostate, and lymphoma cancers.

"A major advantage of this technique is that it is very cheap and extremely simple to do, so it could be adopted in the clinic quite easily", said Laura Carrascosa, a researcher at the University of Queensland.

The researchers acknowledged that their test needs further study, "but it looks really interesting as an incredibly simple "universal marker" of cancer", Trau said in the statement.

More news: George Soros-backed university is 'forced out' of Hungary
More news: Priyanka Chopra announces she is Mrs Jonas now with a cute gesture
More news: Deepika Highest Earning Woman on Forbes Indian Celebs List

The research has been supported by a grant from the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Dr. Jeffrey Weber, the deputy director of the Perlmutter Cancer Center at New York University's Langone Health, called the new study "great science" and applauded the idea of looking for a way to detect the cancer DNA methylscape. If cancer DNA is present, the gold nanoparticles will turn a different color than if cancer DNA is not present. A test that detects one cancer may not work on another.

It spots tiny amounts of DNA floating through vessels that could only have come from tumors and not from healthy cells. It's also attractive "as a very accessible and affordable technology that does not require complicated lab-based equipment like DNA sequencing", he said.

The technique can also be used on tissue biopsies. The procedure is invasive and relies on the patient noticing a lump, or reporting symptoms that their GP recognises as a potential sign of cancer.

The DNA in cancer cells can be riddled with mutations that drive the growth of a specific tumour, but these mutations tend to differ depending on the type of cancer.

The gold nanoparticles were contained in a solution which turned from a reddish colour to blue if healthy cells were detected but stayed the same colour in the presence of cancer cells.

"This test could be done in combination with other simple tests, and become a powerful diagnostic tool that could not just say that you have cancer, but also the type and stage", said Carrascosa.

"The test is sensitive enough to detect very low levels of cancer DNA in the sample", she added.

Recommended News

  • Funeral for former President George H.W. Bush

    Funeral for former President George H.W. Bush

    In Texas, students, staff and visitors have been flocking to Bush's presidential library on the campus of Texas A&M University. The United States Postal Service will suspend regular mail deliveries, retail services and administrative office activity.
    New crew arrives at International Space Station

    New crew arrives at International Space Station

    But most importantly, this is the crew that will handle the first flight tests for NASA's Commercial Crew program. For a while, the arrival of the three new crewmembers returned the ISS crew complement to a total of six.
    Store Wars: Epic Games Takes on Valve, Google with Own Games Store

    Store Wars: Epic Games Takes on Valve, Google with Own Games Store

    To jumpstart the economy, Epic Games will cover the first 5% of creator revenue-sharing for the first 24 months of the service. Once again, that's a right hook at Valve, whose Steam storefront has no referral program.
  • Gautam Gambhir announces retirement from cricket

    Gautam Gambhir announces retirement from cricket

    Gambhir was the top-ranked batsman in Test cricket and was named the ICC Test Player of the Year in 2009 . Gambhir played nearly 250 times for his country across all formats, including 58 Tests and 147 ODIs.
    Sweden talks critical opportunity for Yemen peace

    Sweden talks critical opportunity for Yemen peace

    The coalition has largely suspended its offensive on Hodeida in the face of US-led calls for a ceasefire and new peace talks. A previous attempt by Griffiths to convene peace talks in Switzerland in September collapsed when militia failed to show up.
    Floyd Mayweather Sr’s Reaction To Wilder vs Fury Decision Says It All

    Floyd Mayweather Sr’s Reaction To Wilder vs Fury Decision Says It All

    Wilder said Tuesday he would make no mistake in any possible rematch. Showtime will replay the pay-per-view fight this Saturday (9 p.m.
  • Wisconsin Senate rejects insurance bill

    Wisconsin Senate rejects insurance bill

    After 10 hours of testimony and debate, the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee took its last vote just after midnight Tuesday. The Wisconsin Legislature is preparing to vote on limiting the powers of the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general.
    2 killed in violence over cow slaughter in north India

    2 killed in violence over cow slaughter in north India

    Of the 27, at least four are workers and functionaries of right-wing organisations such as Bajrang Dal , the officials said. The mob left almost six policemen wounded, burned down a police station and set several vehicles on fire.
    Fans clamoring for Redskins to sign Colin Kaepernick after latest injury

    Fans clamoring for Redskins to sign Colin Kaepernick after latest injury

    Gruden also said McCoy might return this season. "For me to go in and play was in an emergency situation and those things happen". Yates and Mark Sanchez , before opting to move forward with Sanchez.
  • Rudy Giuliani blames Twitter for his spectacular typo fail

    Rudy Giuliani blames Twitter for his spectacular typo fail

    A very flawless example of this is Rudy Giuliani , former mayor of NY and now an attorney for Donald Trump . This is not the first time a Twitter typo by Mr Giuliani has drawn the wrong kind of attention.
    Tim Paine names Australian XI to feature in first Test

    Tim Paine names Australian XI to feature in first Test

    While Langer is wary of the quality of the opposition, he believes the weight of the past will put pressure on India . "We know the talent that Mitch has and we know that most likely at some stage in this series we will need him".
    Urban Meyer stepping down at Ohio State

    Urban Meyer stepping down at Ohio State

    Meyer lied to reporters at Big Ten Media Day about what he did and didn't know about the abuse of Smith's wife Courtney. The cyst has caused consistent headaches for Meyer , increasing concern for his health, says the reports.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.