Navigation Links
Technique spots disease using immune cell DNA
Date:7/9/2012

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] When a person is sick, there is a tell-tale sign in their blood: a different mix of the various types of immune cells called leukocytes. A group of scientists at several institutions including Brown University has discovered a way to determine that mix from the DNA in archival or fresh blood samples, potentially providing a practical new technology not only for medical research but also for clinical diagnosis and treatment monitoring of ailments including some cancers.

The key to the new technique, described in two recent papers, is that scientists have identified in each kind of leukocyte a unique chemical alteration to its DNA, called methylation. By detecting these methylation signatures in a patient's blood sample and applying a mathematical analysis, the researchers are able to determine the relative levels of different leukocytes and correlate those with specific diseases.

"You can simply look at the DNA and discern from the methylation marks the relative abundance of different type of leukocytes," said Karl Kelsey, professor of pathology and laboratory medicine in the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and a senior author on both papers. "It's a way to more easily interrogate the immune system of a lot of people."

Other tests, using flow cytometry, can already sort through the abundance of different leukocytes in a blood sample, but they require the blood to be fresh and leukocyte cell membranes to be intact. Because the DNA in a blood sample remains even after cells have died and degraded, tests based on detecting methylation could help doctors or researchers analyze a patient's blood sample that has either aged or has simply not been kept fresh.

In a paper published in advance online June 19 in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention, the researchers describe using their technique to distinguish accurately which blood samples came from patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, ovarian cancer, or bladder cancer. By using methylation to determine the leukocyte populations in each sample, they could predict that the same samples were as much as 10 times more likely to have come from a patient with ovarian cancer than a healthy control patient, six times more likely to be from a head and neck cancer patient than a healthy control, or twice as likely to be from a bladder cancer patient than a control.

"Our approach represents a simple, yet powerful and important new tool for medical research and may serve as a catalyst for future blood-based disease diagnostics," wrote the authors, who hail from Dartmouth, Oregon State University, the University of Minnesota, and the University of CaliforniaSan Francisco, as well as Brown. Several authors worked with Kelsey at Brown during the research.

They describe the technique and its analytical methods in deep mathematical detail in another paper published in May in BMC Bioinformatics. They also report experiments that included analyses of the leukocyte mix of noncancer conditions such as Down syndrome and obesity.

The paper found many examples of differences between the immune cell mix of healthy controls and people with specific illnesses. For example, obese African Americans had an estimated increase in granulocyte leukocytes of about 12 percentage points. People with Down syndrome, had 4.8 percentage points fewer B cells. For head and neck cancer, they noted a 10.4 percentage point drop in CD4+ T-lymphocytes.

"Any disease that has an immune-cell mediated component to it would have applicability," Kelsey said.

In both papers, the authors said they expect that the technique will be applied in clinical and research efforts.

"Our approach provides a completely novel tool for the study of the immune profiles of diseases where only DNA can be accessed," the authors wrote in Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention. "That is, we believe this approach has utility not only in cancer diagnostics and risk-prediction, but can also be applied to future research (including stored specimens) for any disease where the immune profile holds medical information."


'/>"/>
Contact: David Orenstein
david_orenstein@brown.edu
401-863-1862
Brown University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. New technique could reduce number of animals needed to test chemical safety
2. A marker in the lining of the lungs could be useful diagnostic technique for lung cancer screening
3. Screening for breast cancer without X-rays: Lasers and sound merge in promising diagnostic technique
4. New technique predictably generates complex, wavy shapes
5. New surgical technique for removing inoperable tumors of the abdomen
6. New Techniques May Improve Infant Heart Surgery
7. New technique may help severely damaged nerves regrow and restore function
8. Detecting malaria early to save lives: New optical technique promises rapid and accurate diagnosis
9. New MRI technique may predict progress of dementias
10. Study Spots Early Warning Signal for Sudden Cardiac Death
11. Heart Test Spots Sudden Death Risk in Young Athletes
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... February 05, 2016 , ... Steven Tonkinson, 36, of Coconut Grove, Florida, ... since it started in 2003. This year, he ran all 26.2 miles with a ... NBA team the Miami Heat. , This Sunday, while many are watching the Superbowl, ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... February 05, 2016 , ... Successful ... for new clinical and scientific initiatives have all marked the last 12 months ... President and CEO of the nation’s oldest cancer center, Candace S. Johnson, PhD, ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... February 05, 2016 , ... Looking for ... may be at the tips of your toes. Foot massage, whether administered by a ... pure comfort and relaxation. The American Board of Multiple Specialties in Podiatry ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... 05, 2016 , ... US Sports Camps , official operators of Nike ... high-performance kids yoga training. ChildLight Yoga Studio is centrally situated in the picturesque New ... ChildLight Yoga Studio founder Lisa Flynn expresses her excitement, “We are thrilled to be ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... February 05, 2016 , ... Give To Cure ... to search for and donate to Give To Cure’s campaign that is crowdfunding clinical ... lets users make and share payments through a smart device. In 2015 alone, Venmo ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/5/2016)... 5, 2016  As people age, it is natural ... recommended screenings and tests that are linked with certain ... for the majority of aging individuals, hearing health is ... the 37.5 million American adults who report some trouble ... make hearing health a 2016 healthy aging priority.[1] ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... Aethlon Medical, Inc. (Nasdaq: AEMD ), today announced that ... at Source Capital Group,s 2016 Disruptive Growth & Healthcare Conference ... p.m. ET on Wednesday, February 10, 2016.  Mr. Joyce will ... 3:15 p.m. ET. http://www.aethlonmedical.com .  The webcast will ... of the live event. The panel discussion will not be ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... , Feb. 5, 2016  Zimmer Biomet Holdings, Inc. ... the previously announced underwritten secondary offering of 11,027,558 shares ... consisting of affiliates of Blackstone and Goldman Sachs.  The ... initial price of $96.45 per share. The selling stockholders ...  Neither Zimmer Biomet nor any of its directors, officers ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: