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Biomarker discovery may lead to reliable blood test for ectopic pregnancy
Date:2/17/2011

Scientists at The Wistar Institute and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine report the discovery of protein markers that could provide physicians with the first reliable blood test to predict ectopic pregnancies. Their findings are presented in the February 16 issue of the Journal of Proteome Research, currently available online. In a related small-scale study of clinical samples, published recently in the journal Fertility and Sterility, the researchers found that one of the proteinsADAM12showed a nearly 97 percent correlation with ectopic pregnancy.

Ectopic pregnancies occur when a fertilized embryo fails to implant in the womb, often getting caught in the Fallopian tubes. As the embryo grows, the tube could rupture, which results in the loss of the embryo and threatens the life of the pregnant woman. Ectopic pregnancies occur in about one in 40 to 100 pregnancies, and it is a leading cause of death in the first trimester of pregnancy. There is no single proven blood test for ectopic pregnancy, and current diagnosis relies on the use of ultrasound.

"Here we describe a group of proteins that, with further refinement, could make a simple blood test for ectopic pregnancy," said David W. Speicher, Ph.D., professor and co-leader of Wistar's Molecular and Cellular Oncogenesis Program and director of Wistar's Center for Systems and Computational Biology. "This is also a proof-of-principle demonstration of a new method for the discovery of new blood-borne markers that may serve as diagnostic blood tests to detect or predict a variety of clinical conditions and diseases, from ectopic pregnancy to cancer."

According to Speicher, their study points to the power of proteomicsthe study of the sum total of proteins that the body is making at a given timein understanding the state of health or disease in people. Proteomics provides researchers an "unbiased" approach to the discovery of biomarkers, proteins in this case,
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Contact: Greg Lester
glester@wistar.org
215-898-3943
The Wistar Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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