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

which could be used to signal the presence of a particular clinical disorder or disease.

"Most biomarkers being used clinically today were first discovered by focused studies of proteins known to be associated with a disease, such as the prostate-specific antigen, PSA, test for prostate cancer," Speicher explained. "Proteomics is unbiased in the sense that we are not trying to confirm the presence of a known protein, we simply compare the entire protein profile of people in a particular clinical condition or disease state to the protein profile of people in a healthy state."

"Instead of a single biomarker, we can define a panel of such markers, creating a test that weighs the relative importance of individual proteins," Speicher said. "It makes for more sensitive, reliable tests."

In the present study, the Speicher laboratory compared the proteomic signature of blood samples taken from known cases of ectopic pregnancy with blood samples taken from women who experienced a normal pregnancy. They discovered about 70 candidate biomarkers that could signal ectopic pregnancy, which stringent statistical analysis whittled down to the 12 most promising biomarkers. While some of the proteins had previously known associations with ectopic pregnancies, the researchers found at least two, including ADAM12, which had never been previously associated with ectopic pregnancy.

Speicher and his team worked in collaboration with Kurt T. Barnhart, M.D., a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. In a study recently published online by the journal Fertility and Sterility, Barnhart, Speicher and colleagues at Penn and two other urban academic medical centers reported on elevated ADAM12 levels in women seen in emergency rooms for bleeding resulting from an undiagnosed ectopic pregnancy.

The next step is to further confirm and validate the usefulness of their panel of biomarkers using additiona
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Contact: Greg Lester
glester@wistar.org
215-898-3943
The Wistar Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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