Navigation Links
Beyond the microscope: Identifying specific cancers using molecular analysis

SALT LAKE CITY, March 19, 2012Researchers from Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah report they have discovered a method to identify cancer-causing rearrangements of genetic material called chromosomal translocations quickly, accurately, and inexpensively. A description of the method and the research results appear online in this month's issue of the EMBO Molecular Medicine journal.

Many cancers result from chromosomal translocations in tumor cells. Hundreds of cancer-causing translocations have been discovered, but current methods for detecting them have significant shortcomings.

The technique, developed in the lab of Stephen Lessnick, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Center for Children's Cancer Research at HCI, combines microarray technology, which can look for thousands of translocations in a single test, with a novel antibody that is used to detect the presence of the translocation.

"We're moving past the age when a pathologist looking through the microscope at a tumor sample is the best way to diagnose what type of cancer it is," said Lessnick. "The molecular tests currently available are slow, inefficient, and expensive, and one of the biggest issues is that you need high-quality tumor samples, not always available in the clinical setting, to do them." According to Lessnick, his method tolerates real-life specimens much better than the current standard techniques.

"Originally, this method was used in HCI's Cairns lab (headed by Bradley R. Cairns, Ph.D.) to study RNA in yeast. We took their method and applied it to our study of chromosomal translocations in human tissue," Lessnick said. He said the next task is to find a commercial partner to develop this research from a 'proof of principle' into a diagnostic test that doctors can use to help their patients.

"With this method, there's potential to develop a single array that could test for every known cancer-causing translocation simultaneously. Currently, a clinician has to decide beforehand which specific cancer to test," he said.

The research used Ewing's sarcoma (a rare childhood cancer) as the case study for developing the method, but Lessnick maintains that the technology can be easily applied to any type of cancer caused by a translocation.

Funding for this project came from the National Institutes of Health's Innovative Molecular Analysis Technology program. The program focuses on rapid movement of new ideas from basic science labs (such as the Cairns lab) out into the clinical realm. "They were willing to fund this idea without a lot of preliminary data because it showed good potential to move toward clinical uses," said Lessnick.


Contact: Linda Aagard
University of Utah Health Sciences

Related biology news :

1. Car tracks beyond the asphalt
2. Beyond Darwin: Evolving new functions
3. Stranglers of the tropics -- and beyond
4. Biodiversity science in Quebec: 2010 and beyond
5. Beyond polar bears? Experts look for a new vision of climate change to combat skepticism
6. Beyond the genome
7. Beyond the corn field: Balancing fuel, food and biodiversity
8. Homebuilding beyond the abyss
9. Beyond sunlight: Explorers census 17,650 ocean species between edge of darkness and black abyss
10. Beyond genomics, biologists and engineers decode the next frontier
11. Frost & Sullivan Looks at Biometrics Advancement in Civil Security: Exploring Opportunities for Today and Beyond
Post Your Comments:
(Date:5/20/2016)... -- VoiceIt is excited to announce its new marketing ... working together, VoiceIt and VoicePass will offer an ... slightly different approaches to voice biometrics, collaboration between ... Both companies ... "This marketing and technology partnership allows VoiceIt ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... and BANGALORE, India , April ... EdgeVerve Systems, a product subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: ... today announced a global partnership that will provide ... to use mobile banking and payment services.      ... a key innovation area for financial services, but it also ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... CHICAGO , April 15, 2016  A ... companies make more accurate underwriting decisions in a ... offering timely, competitively priced and high-value life insurance ... health screenings. With Force Diagnostics, rapid ... and lifestyle data readings (blood pressure, weight, pulse, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 Epic ... sensitively detects cancers susceptible to PARP inhibitors by ... tumor cells (CTCs). The new test has already ... therapeutics in multiple cancer types. Over ... DNA damage response pathways, including PARP, ATM, ATR, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... CAMBRIDGE, Mass. , June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... the development of novel compounds designed to target ... compound, napabucasin, has been granted Orphan Drug Designation ... in the treatment of gastric cancer, including gastroesophageal ... cancer stemness inhibitor designed to inhibit cancer stemness ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is pleased to announce 24 new Young Investigator ... Members of the Class of 2016 were selected from a pool of 128 ... About the Class of 2016 PCF Young Investigators ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , ... June 23, 2016 , ... In a new ... in Denmark detail how a patient who developed lymphedema after being treated for breast ... results could change the paradigm for dealing with this debilitating, frequent side effect of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: