Navigation Links
Detecting breast cancer's fingerprint in a droplet of blood
Date:4/5/2012

One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime. The earlier cancer is detected, the better the chance of successful treatment and long-term survival. However, early cancer diagnosis is still challenging as testing by mammography remains cumbersome, costly, and in many cases, cancer can only be detected at an advanced stage. A team based in the Dept. of Biomedical Engineering at McGill University's Faculty of Medicine has developed a new microfluidics-based microarray that could one day radically change how and when cancer is diagnosed. Their findings are published in the April issue of the journal Molecular & Cellular Proteomics.

For years, scientists have worked to develop blood tests for cancer based on the presence of the Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA), a protein biomarker for cancer identified over 40 years ago by McGill's Dr. Phil Gold. This biomarker, however, is also found in healthy people and its concentration varies from person to person depending on genetic background and lifestyle. As such, it has not been possible to establish a precise cut-off between healthy individuals and those with cancer.

"Attempts have been made to overcome this problem of person-to-person variability by seeking to establish a molecular 'portrait' of a person by measuring both the concentration of multiple proteins in the blood and identifying the signature molecules that, taken together, constitute a characteristic 'fingerprint' of cancer," explains Dr. David Juncker, the team's principal investigator. "However, no reliable set of biomarkers has been found, and no such test is available today. Our goal is to find a way around this."

Dr. Mateu Pla-Roca, the study's first author, along with members of Juncker's team, began by analyzing the most commonly used existing technologies that measure multiple proteins in the blood and developing a model describing their vulnerabilities and limitations. Specifically, they discovered why the number of protein targets that can be measured simultaneously has been limited and why the accuracy and reproducibility of these tests have been so challenging to improve. Armed with a better understanding of these limitations, the team then developed a novel microfluidics-based microarray technology that circumvents these restrictions. Using this new approach, it then became possible to measure as many protein biomarkers as desired while minimizing the possibility of obtaining false results.

Juncker's biomedical engineering group, together with oncology and bioinformatics teams from McGill's Goodman Cancer Research Centre, then measured the profile of 32 proteins in the blood of 11 healthy controls and 17 individuals who had a particular subtype of breast cancer (estrogen receptor-positive). The researchers found that a subset of six of these 32 proteins could be used to establish a fingerprint for this cancer and classify each of the patients and healthy controls as having or not having breast cancer.

"While this study needs to be repeated with additional markers and a greater diversity of patients and cancer subsets before such a test can be applied to clinical diagnosis, these results nonetheless underscore the exciting potential of this new technology," said Juncker.

Looking ahead, Juncker and his collaborators have set as their goal the development of a simple test that can be carried out in a physician's office using a droplet of blood, thereby reducing dependence on mammography and minimizing attendant exposure to X-rays, discomfort and cost. His lab is currently developing a hand-held version of the test and is working on improving its sensitivity so as to be able to accurately detect breast cancer and ultimately, many other diseases, at the earliest possible stage.


'/>"/>

Contact: Chris Chipello
christopher.chipello@mcgill.ca
514-398-4201
McGill University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Detecting detrimental change in coral reefs
2. Marines best friend shows explosive-detecting capabilities
3. MU researchers unveil new method for detecting lung cancer in Nature article
4. New test shows promise for detecting warning signs of joint replacement failure
5. Stem cells may be key to understanding the origins of colon cancer and detecting relapse
6. Detecting pathogens in waterways: An improved approach
7. Detecting lethal diseases with rust and sand
8. Early investigations promising for detecting metastatic breast cancer cells
9. Researcher develops accurate method for detecting dangerous fluoride
10. Harbor seals whiskers as good at detecting fish as echolocating dolphins
11. Toward a urine test for detecting colon cancer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/20/2016)... , June 20, 2016 Securus ... justice technology solutions for public safety, investigation, corrections ... the prisons involved, it has secured the final ... (DOC) facilities for Managed Access Systems (MAS) installed. ... additional facilities to be installed by October, 2016. ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... June 9, 2016  Perkotek an innovation leader in attendance control systems is proud ... work hours, for employers to make sure the right employees are actually signing in, ... ... ... ...
(Date:6/3/2016)... 3, 2016 Das ... Nepal hat ein 44 ... geprägter Kennzeichen, einschließlich Personalisierung, Registrierung und IT-Infrastruktur, ... Produktion und Implementierung von Identitätsmanagementlösungen. Zahlreiche renommierte ... Januar teilgenommen, aber Decatur wurde als konformste ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Supplyframe, the ... the Supplyframe Design Lab . Located in Pasadena, Calif., the Design Lab’s ... how hardware projects are designed, built and brought to market. , The Design ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... BEACH, Calif. , June 23, 2016  Blueprint ... new biological discoveries to the medical community, has closed ... co-founder Matthew Nunez . "We have ... us with the capital we need to meet our ... will essentially provide us the runway to complete validation ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... quality, regulatory and technical consulting, provides a free webinar on Performing ... July 13, 2016 at 12pm CT at no charge. , Incomplete investigations are ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... DIEGO , June 22, 2016 ... that will allow them to produce up to ... from one lot within one week. These high-quality, ... time laboriously preparing cells and spend more time ... possible through a proprietary, high-volume manufacturing process that ...
Breaking Biology Technology: