Test Breakthrough Could See Cancer Diagnosed In Minutes

05 December, 2018, 20:35 | Author: Sherman Richardson
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The 10-minute test, announced in a study published by Nature on Tuesday, can determine whether a tumour is present in the human body by identifying a unique DNA nanostructure that is common to all types of cancer.

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.

And so, Sina and colleagues compared the epigenetic patterns on the genomes of cancer cells to those of healthy cells, specifically focusing on patterns of methyl groups.

The researchers have tested their technology on about 200 samples from cancer patients and healthy people, finding that the test was up to 90 percent accurate in detecting cancer.

Instead of being evenly spread, as in normal cells, they form clusters which are released into the bloodstream, where they can be picked up by gold.

While the test is still in development, it draws on a radical new approach to cancer detection that could make routine screening for the disease a simple procedure for doctors. 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.

Abu Sina, Research Fellow, The University of Queensland; Laura G. Carrascosa, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, The University of Queensland, and Matt Trau, Professor, 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. They then showed that the patterns had a dramatic impact on the DNA's chemistry, making normal and cancer DNA behave very differently in water.

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Gold nanoparticles produced by laser ablation in heavy water.

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

After a series of experiments, the scientists hit on the new test for cancer.

Currently, the test detects only the presence of cancer, not the type of cancer.

It spots tiny amounts of DNA floating through vessels that could only have come from tumors and not from healthy cells. The gold particles change color depending on whether or not cancer DNA is present.

"We certainly don't know yet whether it's the holy grail for all cancer diagnostics, but it looks really interesting as an incredibly simple universal marker of cancer, and as an accessible and cheap technology that doesn't require complicated lab-based equipment like DNA sequencing", Professor Trau said.

"Even for breast cancer, there are a dozen types, so we thought there would be different tests for different types of cancer". "This could be done in conjunction with other tests and the combined information may give us a lot of ideas of where the cancer is and the stage". However if the water changes to blue, the test suggest you're cancer free.

Our test also uses circulating cancer DNA but involves a different detection method.

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