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Molecular fingerprints point the way to earlier cancer diagnosis and more targeted treatment
Date:3/23/2009

y. If the patient has cancer, you want to pick it up. We need to have a kind of multiplex test where you can test for say10 different entities and have a greater confidence that what you are stating about the tumor is true. Our goal is to develop such a panel and research on sarcosine is a first step toward achieving this."

In his new position at MCG, he's looking to expand the number of metabolites known to be predictive of prostate and other cancers. In prostate cancer, he's beginning with follow up on other metabolites identified in the Michigan study in which researchers identified a total of six metabolites, including sarcosine, linked to increased tumor progression. A total of 89 metabolites were different in metastatic prostate cancer compared to localized disease.

He's excited about what metabolites will one day tell cancer physicians and patients but adds that they are just a piece of what our bodies can tell us about a potential cancer growing inside. Scientists also need to continue to look at genes expressed by tumors and the proteins expressed by those genes to get the bigger picture. "It's basically a systems approach you need to take," he says.

The young scientist has worked with all those pieces in his relatively short career. He started his postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan in1999, when the ability to look at gene expression was new. With his mentor, Dr. Arul M. Chinnaiyan, director of Michigan Center for Translational Pathology, Pathology Research Informatics and Cancer Bioinformatics at Michigan, he helped develop the next step: the ability to look at expression of hundreds of proteins at a time, instead of a handful, an important advance in light of the fact that there are about 1 million proteins. Recently they were among the first to venture into the world of metabolites, which are made by proteins.

"Previous technology was looking at a cell from a narrow perspective and cells never act
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Contact: Toni Baker
tbaker@mcg.edu
706-721-4421
Medical College of Georgia
Source:Eurekalert  

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