Scientists Develop 'Universal Cancer Test' That Could Provide Results In 10 Minutes

Lynette PayneDec 07, 2018

Dr. Dino Di Carlo, director of cancer nanotechnology at UCLA's cancer center and a bioengineering professor at the Los Angeles university, told USA TODAY that the study needs to be further tested to determine its effectiveness.

According to Dr. Sina, each type of cancer has a different signature, and it can be hard to find a signature that's common to all cancers and different from healthy cells.

Scientists, including one of Indian origin, have developed a quick test that can detect all types of cancer from blood or biopsy tissues within minutes.

"We believe that this simple approach would potentially be a better alternative to the current techniques for cancer detection".

The research team disclosed that the test would detect about 90 in 100 cases of cancer.

A universal cancer test would not be precise enough to detect tumour location or size, but it enables doctors to give a yes or no answer. A less invasive test that has the potential to spot cancer earlier could transform how patients are screened for the disease.

Cancer alters the DNA of healthy cells, particularly in the distribution of molecules known as methyl groups, and the test detects this altered patterning when placed in a solution such as water.

As part of the development of the test, the researchers found that cancer cells of breast and prostate cancer have a unique "signature" - a sample of molecules of DNA.

Cancer cells in their early stages have certain DNA signatures, the team noted that make them unique. Though made of gold, the particles turn the water pink.

Co-author Professor Matt Trau, from the University of Queensland, 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 of cancer, and as a very accessible and low-priced technology'.

These instantly change color depending on whether the 3D nanostructures of cancer DNA are present.

A new blood test will diagnose cancer in just ten minutes. In at least some of the cancer types, the accuracy rate is as high as 90 percent. Even better, the test works on circulating free DNA, molecular fragments that drift through easily obtained body fluids.

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

So the researchers focused on DNA that circulates in the bloodstream after cancer cells die and release their cargo.

The researcher added that "it looks really interesting as an incredibly simple universal marker of cancer". "Further clinical studies are required to evaluate the full clinic potential of the method".

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