Navigation Links
New technology pinpoints genetic differences between cancer and non-cancer patients

A group of researchers led by scientists from the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) at Virginia Tech have developed a new technology that detects distinct genetic changes differentiating cancer patients from healthy individuals and could serve as a future cancer predisposition test.

The multidisciplinary team, which includes researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, has created a design for a new DNA microarray that allows them to measure the two million microsatellites (short, repetitive DNA sequences) found within the human genome using 300,000 probes.

Microsatellites, which tend to vary greatly among individuals and have traditionally been used in forensics and paternity tests, are also used to uncover information related to a number of other genetic diseases such as Fragile-X or Huntington's disease. This advancement aided the discovery of a unique pattern of microsatellite variation in breast cancer patients that were not present in the DNA of patients who are cancer-free. Through their evaluation of global changes in the genome, the researchers determined that this pattern change alludes to a new mechanism disrupting the genome in cancer patients and may represent a new breast cancer risk biomarker. The results of the work will be featured in an upcoming edition of the journal Genes, Chromosomes and Cancer. The study is available online (

"We have now arrived at a new biomarker an indicator that could be used to evaluate the amount of risk that you have for developing cancer in the future," explained Harold "Skip" Garner, VBI executive director who leads the institute's Medical Informatics and Systems Division ( "This is part of an effort to understand their (microsatellite) role in the genome and then proceed on directly towards something that is of utility in the clinic. What just came out in our paper is a description of the technology that allows us to very quickly and efficiently and inexpensively measure these two million places using a uniquely designed microarray It's the pattern on that microarray that provides us the information we need."

Watch a video of Garner discussing the research and its implications (

Only a small percentage of microsatellites have been linked to cancer and other diseases because there hasn't been an effective method available for evaluating large numbers of these sequences. This technology is enabling scientists to understand the role of these understudied parts of our genome for the first time and may help explain the difference between the known genetic components in disease and those that have been explained by genomic studies. This tool can be used to identify and better understand genetic changes in many different types of cancer with the potential to serve as a universal cancer biomarker. It has already been instrumental in the discovery of a new biomarker ( in the estrogen-related receptor gamma (ERR-γ) gene, which indicates an individual's increased risk for breast cancer. The group is now pursuing a number of these cancer predisposition risk markers in colon, lung, and other cancers.


Contact: Susan Bland
Virginia Tech

Related biology news :

1. BIO-key(R) to Showcase Biometric Security Applications at 2008 Biometric Technology Expo
2. Stantum Offering Demo, Evaluation & Development Board Based on Its Patented Resistive Multi-Touch Technology
3. Neurotechnology Releases SentiSight 2.0 SDK Universal Object Recognition Technology
4. Audience Selected as Silver Winner in This Years Wall Street Journal Technology Innovation Awards and Winner of the Semiconductors Category
5. Breakthrough optical technology to assess colon cancer risk, accuracy
6. So-called sandfish could help materials handling and process technology specialists
7. Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News reports on growing role of molecular diagnostics
8. Human Microbiome Project awards funds for technology development, data analysis and ethical research
9. Europe rallies behind nanotechnology to wean world from fossil fuels
10. Nanotechnology boosts war on superbugs
11. Cost-effective farm waste-to-energy technology focus of research
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/22/2016)... 2016 On Monday, the Department of Homeland ... share solutions for the Biometric Exit Program. The Request ... Protection (CBP), explains that CBP intends to add biometrics ... the United States , in order to deter ... Logo - ...
(Date:6/16/2016)... 16, 2016 The global ... to reach USD 1.83 billion by 2024, according ... Inc. Technological proliferation and increasing demand in commercial ... to drive the market growth.      ... The development of advanced multimodal techniques for biometric ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... 9, 2016 Paris Police ... video security solution to ensure the safety of people and ... during the major tournament Teleste, an international technology ... services, announced today that its video security solution will be ... back up public safety across the country. The system roll-out ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Houston Methodist ... the Cy-Fair Sports Association to serve as their ... agreement, Houston Methodist Willowbrook will provide sponsorship support, ... connectivity with association coaches, volunteers, athletes and families. ... the Cy-Fair Sports Association and to bring Houston ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... today announced the launch of the Supplyframe Design Lab . Located in ... to explore the future of how hardware projects are designed, built and brought ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Andrew D Zelenetz ... Published recently in Oncology ... touchONCOLOGY, Andrew D Zelenetz , discusses the ... is placing an increasing burden on healthcare systems ... With the patents on many biologics expiring, interest ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 22, 2016  Amgen (NASDAQ: ... the QB3@953 life sciences incubator to accelerate ... The shared laboratory space at QB3@953 was created to ... key obstacle for many early stage organizations - access ... the sponsorship, Amgen launched two "Amgen Golden Ticket" awards, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: