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New test to detect rare proteins in blood

ble to detect tumors at very early stages so that tumor emergence or reoccurrence can be rapidly treated or even prevented.

Greene's laboratory established many of the principles of targeted therapy for Her2/neu tumors and the prototype antibodies that led to the development of Herceptin, a similar antibody molecule that was created by Genentech. The Greene laboratory also previously showed that early treatment of Her2/neu tumors with targeted monoclonal antibodies in animal models led to far more significant prevention of tumor growth as well as tumor emergence and reoccurrence.

Greene stresses that early treatment is far more effective than treating advanced tumors with the same antibodies. Recent clinical trials support the notion that early treatment prevents tumor reoccurrence in women with breast tumors. FACTT technology represents a way to couple early diagnosis with early treatment to prevent tumor emergence.

Detecting Her2/neu in humans for breast cancer

The most widely used clinical Her2/neu tests are IHC (immunohistochemistry) and FISH (fluorescence in situ hybridization). However, both FISH and IHC are complex, time-consuming tests.

Patients who test positive for Her2/neu using FISH or IHC have responsive rates of about 35 percent to the cancer drug Herceptin. Monitoring Her2/neu status from the blood with a powerful technology such as FACTT represents an alternative approach compared to IHC or FISH, say the researchers.

Pre-treatment Her2/neu levels correlate with tumor size and the extent of disease. Post-treatment Her2/neu levels predict disease-specific survival. A more sensitive assay could more accurately allow treatment of humans with breast cancer and allow treatment more quickly if the tumor reoccurs.

The researchers collected blood samples from healthy women and breast cancer patients who did or did not overexpress Her2/neu, as detected by IHC and FISH. When using the new FACTT m
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Source:University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine


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