One Test to Diagnose Them All — Universal Cancer Test

One Test to Diagnose Them All — Universal Cancer Test

A quick and easy test to detect cancer from blood or biopsy tissue could eventually result in a new approach to patient diagnosis.

The technology, however, requires further development as it can now only determine the presence of cancer, but not the disease type or stage.

"In healthy cells, these methyl groups are spread out across the genome, but the genomes of cancer cells are essentially barren except for intense clusters of methyl groups at very specific locations".

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.

Chemistry Professor and research associate Matt Trau said, "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 for cancer, and as an accessible and affordable technology that doesn't require complicated lab-based equipment like DNA sequencing". He said that they initially believed that each cancer would need a separate test for detection.

"Virtually every piece of cancerous DNA we examined had this highly predictable pattern", Professor Trau said.

While he can see a future where these tests could be commonplace, Mr Eccles said he thinks they will be used in conjunction with existing tests.

So, the researchers developed a test that exploits this ability of cancer DNA to stick to gold.

Costa Rica: Body is likely missing Florida woman
That's where the missing woman and her sister-in-law April Antonieta were staying on a trip celebrating Stefaniak's 36th birthday. Martinez has been in Costa Rica since June and, according to police, worked as a guard at the hotel where Stefaniak was staying.

It is based on a process known as epigenetics - the attachment of a chemical tag known as a methyl group to DNA.

The discovery of a unique DNA signature common to multiple cancers could one day revolutionise the way we diagnose cancer, particularly in its early stages, Australian researchers say.

These distinct patterns of molecules control which genes are turned on and off at any given time and "decorate the DNA". 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.

Trau said: "This happens in one drop of fluid".

The team noticed that in cancer cells, methyl groups were clustered at certain positions on the genome - a stark contrast to healthy cells where the groups are dispersed throughout.

"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 in Australia. This changes the colour of the solution containing the nanoparticles and this change can be detected with the "naked eye" said Trau.

So far they've tested the new technology on 200 samples across different types of human cancers, and healthy cells. "We certainly don't know yet whether it's the holy grail for all cancer diagnostics, but it looks really interesting", he concluded.

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