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An earlier start on diagnosing breast, prostate cancers
Date:1/10/2011

Using biological samples taken from patients and state-of-the-art biochemical techniques, a Florida State University researcher is working to identify a variety of "biomarkers" that might provide earlier warnings of the presence of breast and prostate cancers.

"Biomarkers are indicators of certain biological and pathological processes that are occurring, such as cancer," said Qing-Xiang "Amy" Sang, a professor in Florida State's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. "Either the cancer cells themselves, or surrounding normal tissue for that matter, can produce specific proteins or exhibit other biological changes that provide a signal that something unusual is taking place. Different types of cancer produce different biomarkers, so the challenge is to identify the most effective one for each type of the disease."

For more than 15 years, Sang and her colleagues have focused their efforts on two types of cancers that are particularly prevalent in the United States: breast and prostate. National Cancer Institute statistics illustrate the enormity of the problem:

  • An estimated 207,090 American women and 1,970 men were expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer during the year 2010, with 39,840 women and 390 men dying from the disease. It is the second most frequent type of cancer and second leading cause of cancer death among American women.
  • An estimated 217,730 American men were expected to be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2010, with 32,050 men dying. It is the most frequent type of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death among American men.

"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recognized three separate biomarkers for the identification of breast cancer and one for prostate cancer," Sang said. "But if we can identify new and more accurate biomarkers that offer even earlier glimpses of these diseases, we stand a better chance of offering patients the most customized treatment possi
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Contact: Qing-Xiang "Amy" Sang
qxsang@chem.fsu.edu
850-644-8683
Florida State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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