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Stanford computer algorithm used to identify bladder cancer marker
Date:1/17/2012

chnique might be used to identify the patients with the more-aggressive subtype before the cancer becomes invasive or metastatic."

Those who already have invasive cancer of the more-aggressive subtype would be candidates for additional therapies, such as chemotherapy, even before metastasis could be detected, added Robert Chin, MD, PhD, of the University of Chicago Medical Center, the third lead author of the paper. The paper has two senior authors: Irving Weissman, MD, the Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Professor for Clinical Investigation and Cancer Research at Stanford, and Keith Syson Chan, PhD, formerly at Stanford and now an assistant professor professor at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

"Patients deserve to have an accurate opinion of what will happen to them after they have had surgery for bladder cancer, and this test will give the most accurate assessment to date," Weissman said. "Its simplicity should allow surgeons and oncologists to make better decisions, and patients to understand better how they should organize their lives. The simplicity of the test should make it easily affordable, and therefore not add to the burden of medical costs."

To devise this new test, the researchers took an approach, based in developmental biology, to assess the cancer. They started with the knowledge that cancer cells that are more "primitive" (closer in appearance and function to stem cells) are more dangerous than cancer cells that are more "differentiated" (less similar to stem cells). They also knew from previous research that two molecules, keratin-5 and keratin-20, were associated with more-differentiated bladder cells (both normal and cancerous).

The researchers used a unique tool the computer algorithm developed at Stanford that allows them to take two biologically related proteins and quickly sort through thousands of public databases to find other molecules that are similarly related. The validity of this "Boolean" sear
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Contact: Krista Conger
kristac@stanford.edu
650-725-5371
Stanford University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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