"The BROCA test is not patented," the researchers said, and added that designs for its use in genetic studies are freely available.
At present, most tests for genes already known to be associated with breast and ovarian cancer, BRAC1 and BRAC2, are done by a lone company. The cost is about $4,000 for a non-comprehensive test accompanied by an additional test to find gene rearrangements.
As more cancer-susceptibility genes are found, it is not economical to test a person for one gene mutation, and then go back and test for another, then another. Gene-by-gene testing will eventually give way to a single test that accurately identifies all classes of those gene mutations that permit tumors to grow unchecked.
At present, the price for the BROCA chemicals is about $200. The costs are shrinking for running the genome analysis, due to the increasing number of samples that can be put through the multiple "lanes" in the sequencer.
Swisher and her team concentrated on ovarian cancer gene-detection in trying this sequencing method because ovarian cancer is one of the most deadly to affect a woman's reproductive system. It is difficult to diagnose in its early stages
Ovarian cancer and cancer of the peritoneum begin quietly. Eventually vague symptoms appear, but they mimic seemingly benign conditions, like bloating.
"Most women are not diagnosed until the cancer is has advanced to the point where the chances of a cure are small," Swisher said. "Women with early stage ovarian cancer have a better survival than those diagnosed with late stages, but current methods of detection are not effective."
The lack of effective early detection is why Swisher and her research team are looking for a more complete genetic picture of ovarian and related cancers. Learning the genetic mutations associated with these cancers c
|Contact: Leila Gray|
University of Washington