New Super Sensitive Test for Cancer Detection.

Logos 005New Research in the Journal of the American Cancer Society Central Sciences reports chemists have increased the likelihood of detecting cancer via a test that is thousands of times more sensitive than current diagnostics and is in clinical trials.  When a disease begins in the body the immune system responds by producing antibodies. Removing these antibodies or related biomarkers from the blood is one way scientists infer the presence of disease. Removing the biomasrkers from the blood involves designing a molecule that the biomarker will bind to, and which is adorn with an identifying flag. Through a series of specialized chemical reactions, researchers can isolate the flag and biomarkers bound to it, to provide a measure of the disease.

In the new test, researchers have replaced the standard flag with a short strand of DNA which can then be teased out of the sample using DNA isolation technologies that are far more sensitive than those possible for traditional antibody detection’s.  Researchers said “This is spiritually related to a basic science tool we were developing to detect protein modifications, but we realized that the core principles were pretty straightforward and  that the approach might be better served as a diagnostic tool.”

Researchers tested their tool with the DNA flag against four FDA approved tests for a biomarker for thyroid cancer and it outperformed the sensitivity of all of them by at least 800 times, and as much as 10,000 times. By detecting the bio markers of disease at lower concentrations, diseases can theoretically be caught far earlier in their progression.  Researchers continued “The thyroid cancer test has historically been  a fairly challenging immunoassay, because it produces a lot of false positives and false negatives, so it wasn’t clear if our test would have an advantage. We susoected ours would be more sensitive, but we were pleasantly surprised by the magnitude.

The researchers are continuing with clinical trials and are excited that current findings can be implemented inpractice because the test is performed on pre-existing machines that most clinical labs are already familiar with.

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