Nav: Home

New blood test may transform the way cancer is monitored and treated

August 14, 2017

Philadelphia, PA, August 14, 2017 - Stanford University scientists have described a new type of test that can detect genetic mutations in minute amounts of DNA released from cancer cells into the blood. The test, which is called single color digital PCR, requires only a fraction of a tube of blood and can detect as few as three mutation-bearing molecules in a single reaction. According to the report in The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics, this highly sensitive test has the potential to be personalized to recognize mutations unique to any individual cancer.

"For monitoring patient tumors, only a handful of blood tests are available which are limited to only several types of cancers. Nearly all cancer patients require monitoring by whole body imaging, which can be costly, complex, and time-consuming. In contrast, molecular tests like the one we have developed will enable patients to be monitored at every visit, and thus have the potential for quickly tracking cancer growth and spread. Moreover, the test's rapid turnaround and relatively low cost, especially compared to next-generation DNA sequencing, provide a potential opportunity for universal monitoring of more patients than is currently done," explained lead investigator Hanlee P. Ji, MD, Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine at Stanford University and Senior Associate Director of the Stanford Genome Technology Center.

The report describes the use of the test to analyze samples from six patients. Five patients were previously diagnosed with colorectal cancer and one with cholangiocarcinoma.

After generation of customized mutation detection assays, the researchers were able to identify tumor-derived circulating DNA from three out of six patients. In one patient, the assay was able to show the presence of three different mutations. The three patients, whose samples did not show elevated cancer DNA, were undergoing active treatment at the time of collection.

The single-color digital PCR test offers several advantages over other methods of circulating tumor DNA analysis, compared to next-generation targeted sequencing and fluorescent probe-based digital PCR assays. The main advantage is that the new technique does not rely on pre-amplification, which can introduce errors and biases.

"This test is simple enough to set up and analyze without extensive training, and therefore, it can be implemented by anyone, making it highly accessible to any laboratory. It has been truly motivating to work with a technology that will help transform the way that we monitor and treat individuals with cancer. I am excited to share our findings with the cancer research community," noted lead author and researcher Christina Wood Bouwens, of the Stanford Genome Technology Center and the Division of Oncology, Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California.
-end-


Elsevier

Related Cancer Articles:

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.
Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.
More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.
New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.
More Cancer News and Cancer Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Erasing The Stigma
Many of us either cope with mental illness or know someone who does. But we still have a hard time talking about it. This hour, TED speakers explore ways to push past — and even erase — the stigma. Guests include musician and comedian Jordan Raskopoulos, neuroscientist and psychiatrist Thomas Insel, psychiatrist Dixon Chibanda, anxiety and depression researcher Olivia Remes, and entrepreneur Sangu Delle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...