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Following a trail of blood: A new diagnostic tool comes of age
Date:2/14/2012

Blood tests have been a mainstay of diagnostic medicine since the late 19th century, offering a wealth of information concerning health and disease. Nevertheless, blood derived from the human umbilical cord has yet to be fully mined for its vital health information, according to Rolf Halden, a researcher at Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute.

In a new study appearing in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, Halden's team performs detailed analyses of umbilical cord blood (UCB), identifying a total of 1,210 proteins using mass spectroscopy. The findings represent a 6-fold increase in the number UCB proteins thus far describeda significant advance: "Mapping of the full spectrum of proteins detectable in cord blood is the first, crititcal step in the discovery of biomarkers to improve human health," Halden says.

The proteins identified are associated with 138 different metabolic and disease pathways and provide invaluable information for the identification of biomarkersearly warning indices of disease, toxic exposure or disruptions in cellular processes. In addition to presenting intriguing candidates for new biomarkers in UCB, the study also identified 38 proteins corresponding to existing FDA-approved biomarkers for adult blood.

The UCB samples were pooled from 12 newborns, whose maternal backgrounds varied in terms of ethnicity, educational background, body weight, exposure to environmental toxins and also, to cigarette smoke. The research improves prospects for early disease diagnosis, by prioritizing biomarkers based on known proteins linked with disease.

According to Halden, the use of UCB as a diagnostic tool offers a number of attractive advantages. It is a readily acquired diagnostic biofluidno invasive procedures are needed and relatively large volumes of fluid can be easily obtained. With the aid of modern high-throughput mass spectroscopy, UCB can be rapidly screened to reveal hundre
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Contact: Joseph Caspermeyer
Joseph.Caspermeyer@asu.edu
Arizona State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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