Published: Fri, December 07, 2018
Medical | By Vicki Mclaughlin

Minute Universal Cancer Test Being Developed

Minute Universal Cancer Test Being Developed

Currently, the researchers are working with the university's commercialization company, UniQuest, to develop and license the technology; they plan to assess its use in detecting different cancer types across all stages from different bodily fluids as well as in gauging responses to treatment.

"Because cancer is an extremely complicated and variable disease, it has been hard to find a simple signature common to all cancers, yet distinct from healthy cells", Abu Sina, a researcher at the Institute, said in a statement.

This test is still in development, and it draws a radical new approach to cancer detection that could make routine screening a straightforward procedure for doctors. Indeed, this test is so convenient and affordable that in the not-too-distant future we could all be carrying around our own personal cancer detector - on our cell phones. After many studies and a lot of work, scientists have come up with a universal cancer test.

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

It's been used only to detect breast, prostate, bowel and lymphoma cancers, but they're confident the results can be replicated with other types of the disease.

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The team found that the DNA of cancer cells sticks strongly to nanoparticles of gold giving a quick indication whether disease is present or not to the naked eye. When the DNA from cancers cells was added, the water retains its color.

Sina said: "It works for tissue-derived genomic DNA and blood-derived circulating free DNA".

The team does not go as far as to say that this will be the ultimate cancer diagnostic but the technology behind it is affordable and does not require complex equipment like DNA sequencing so, while the team is humble about the results of their research, we truly want to give them a round of applause regardless. We are talking about a simple and cheap test that provides accurate results in a very short time.

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.

"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. Further clinical studies are needed to assess the full clinical potential. The solution caused cancer cells to fold into three-dimensional nanostructures that could easily break apart with a solid substance like gold.

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