Wednesday, 20 February, 2019

One Test to Diagnose Them All — Universal Cancer Test

The test uses gold nanoparticles which bind together when cancer is present The test uses gold nanoparticles which bind together when cancer is present Credit Alamy
Melissa Porter | 08 December, 2018, 07:34

After a bunch of experiments, the expert hit on the new test for cancer. Survival rate for most cancers stagnates at 20% because a majority of the patients come when the disease is already in the advanced, or III and IV, stages. A test that detects one cancer may not work on another.

"You can detect it by eye - it's as simple as that", study senior author Matt Trau, a professor and senior group leader at the University of Queensland's Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, said in a statement.

Scientists in Australia have uncovered an cheap test of more than 10-minute duration, which can detect traces of cancer in the bloodstream.

The 10-minute test developed in Australia is yet to be used on humans, and large clinical trials are needed before it can be used on prospective patients.

Carrascosa said the sensitivity of the test is considerably enough in detecting very low levels of cancer DNA in the sample. Additionally, the research was supported by a National Breast Cancer Foundation grant to advance cancer diagnosis testing.

Our test also uses circulating cancer DNA but involves a different detection method. According to Trau, cancer cells released their DNA into blood plasma when they perished.

The scientists looked at epigenetic patterns in cancer cell genomes and in healthy cells, looking specifically for methyl groups.

The new study focused on the "epigenome", or chemical modifications to DNA that turn genes "on" or "off". However, its effect in a solution (such as water) has never been explored.

He said: "Virtually every piece of cancerous DNA we examined had this highly predictable pattern". "These were different to what we saw with normal tissue DNA in the water", the article explains. This is because gold can affect molecular behaviour in a way that causes visible colour changes.

"It is universal? We don't know until it's tested - it's impossible to know".

"This makes it bind to the gold nanoparticles, and it's much stronger binding than the normal DNA is".

Earlier, dermatologists recommended the use of gold dust, coupled with laser therapy for the treatment of acne in adults. He also used that hyped-inducing word "breakthrough" to describe his findings.

For this test to work properly the DNA must be pure.

"It seems that to launch cancer, you have to run a series of genetic apps". This feature appears to be common to cancer DNA in general, regardless of the type of cancer, the researchers said. "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". Much more research needs to be done before that test can be widely used, the United States researchers added.

The discovery was made by a medical research team in Queensland.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.