Navigation Links
Scientists: New technique identifies molecular 'biomarkers' for disease

GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- University of Florida chemists are the first to use a new tool to identify the molecular signatures of serious diseases -- without any previous knowledge of what these microscopic signatures or biomarkers should look like.

Reported this month in the online edition of the Journal of Proteome Research, the advance could one day lead to earlier detection and improved treatment of some types of cancer as well as other diseases.

With many diseases, the problem has been that we really dont know what to look for, said Weihong Tan, a professor of chemistry and the lead author of the paper. What weve done is create a technique to identify the biomarkers despite that limitation.

Doctors often diagnose cancer and other diseases based on the appearance of a tumor or a patients symptoms. While such traditional methods can be effective, they sometimes identify a disease only after it is established. For example, clinicians may get tipped off to the presence of lung cancer which kills more people than any other type of cancer based on visible images of a tumor that appear on radiological exams of a patients lungs.

Because earlier detection typically improves outcomes, doctors would like to spot disease at the molecular level, before it grows or spreads and manifests itself in more obvious and harmful ways. Given that diseased cells molecular structures differ from those of healthy ones, that approach should be possible, and researchers have had some success finding such biomarkers using antibodies, Tan said. But despite years of research, biomarkers for most diseases remain elusive or unreliable, he said.

His group turned to aptamers, single-strand chains of DNA or RNA that recognize and bind to target protein molecules, as a new tool. His paper reports the first-ever successful use of the aptamers to discover a molecular biomarker in this case, one for leukemia.

Tan said his group used cell-SELEX, a process his group developed and patented.

Researchers create trillions of different varieties of aptamers in a solution. They then immerse cells known to carry the sought-after disease in the solution. After an incubation period, they rinse the cells.

The vast majority of the aptamers wash away, but those with stronger molecular affinity for the diseased cells remain. The researchers repeat the process several times, eventually shrinking the pool of aptamers to as few as 10 to 25 very strongly attached aptamers those most closely associated with the diseased cells. Analysis then reveals these aptamers molecular structure, as well as the molecular structure of the cells biomarkers they bind to.

As long as the molecules in question are expressed in a substantially different way on diseased and normal cells, they can be identified, Tan said.

Rebecca Sutphen, associate professor and director of the Genetic Counseling & Testing Service at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute in Tampa, said improved diagnosis may not be the only application of the research.

The opportunity to identify cancer cell-specific biomarkers and potentially detect small numbers of cancer cells has many potential clinical applications, including disease detection, better imaging of tumors and even potential application for stem cells, she said.

Other biomarkers have been found for leukemia, but none is particularly reliable, Tan said. Tan and his colleagues reported using aptamers to recognize cancer cells in a 2006 paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Tan said the latest paper advances that work by revealing the target biomarkers the selected aptamers recognize, Tan said. These targets will form a molecular foundation in understanding diseases, he said.

In 2006, we did not know what the aptamer recognized on the cancer cell surface, he said. In this current work, we report discovering these biomarkers, which then form the molecular foundation for us to understand the cancer and to prepare different molecular tools for molecular medicine.

Tan said the research is particularly promising because aptamers are relatively easy and inexpensive to manufacture compared with antibodies. This offers the potential for wider application, he said, adding that aptamers could one day be used not only to detect disease, but also to ferry therapeutic agents to diseased cells.


Contact: Weihong Tan
University of Florida

Related medicine news :

1. Eye-staining technique offers early detection for dry eye syndrome
2. New technique detects specific chromosomal damage, may indicate lung cancer risk
3. The Pharma & Life Sciences Best Practice Database: an Industry Resource for Successful Techniques and Performance Benchmarks for Reaching the Top
4. Latest DES Analysis Stresses Importance of Physicians Well-Trained in Implantation Technique and Patient Follow-Up
5. Accuray Receives FDA Clearance for New Dose Calculation Technique for Body Radiosurgery
6. Radiation therapy technique reduces length of prostate cancer treatment
7. Radiation therapy technique reduces length of prostate cancer treatment
8. IVF technique enables pregnancy without multiple births, Stanford researchers find
9. UT Southwestern investigating hypothermic technique in treating pediatric head injuries
10. UCLA doctor develops new technique to treat varicose veins
11. New technique improves purity of medicines
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/27/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... a safe and convenient way to dispense prescription medications at home, so he ... effective way to monitor and dispense prescription medications. In doing so, it could ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... ProSidebar: Fashion is ... Pro X. With ProSidebar: Fasion, video editors can easily add an informative sidebar ... minimalist title opener. Utilize presets featuring self-animating drop zones, lines, bars, and text ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... , ... A simply groundbreaking television series, "Voices in America", which is hosted ... array of issues that are presently affecting Americans. Dedicated to providing the world with ... changing the subjects consumers focus on, one episode at a time. , In ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... successful and prominent nonprofit healthcare organizations in the country. They have overseen financial ... organizations, and helped advance the healthcare industry as a whole through their advocacy ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 26, 2015 , ... ... substance abuse located in central Michigan, have come together on Thanksgiving Day to ... produced video, available for viewing on the Serenity Point YouTube channel, patients displayed ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... total global healthcare industry is expected to grow at a ... has the highest projected growth at 12.7%, and ... ), is second with growth projected at 11.5%. ... In 2013-2014, total government funded healthcare was nearly 68%. Federal ... in 2013-2014. In real terms, out of pocket expenditure increased ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015  The American Academy ... Gynecologists (ACOG), and the March of Dimes cheered ... Protecting Our Infants Act of 2015 (S.799), ... of newborns born exposed to drugs, such as ... bill,s introduction, all three organizations have worked together ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015 AAIPharma ... planned investment of at least $15.8  Million to ... Wilmington, NC . The expansion will ... to meet the growing demands of the pharmaceutical ... site expansion will provide up to 40,000 ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: