Chips that analyse cancer genes

October 19, 2002

This press release is also available in French, Spanish, German, and Italian.

Chip technology that exploits genetic information promises to be one of the most important instruments for the prognosis of cancer on the horizon, delegates were told today (19 October 2002) at the European Society for Medical Oncology Congress in Nice, France.

Cancer is caused by alterations - or mutations - in genes and other cell abnormalities. Information from the Human Genome Project now provides a valuable tool in understanding the genetic basis of cancer and its diagnosis. DNA microarrays, also known as 'chips', have been developed to analyse types of cancer.

Genetic material, DNA and RNA, is removed from the tumour and labelled. "This tissue sample is placed on the chip, which is a plastic device with a very small glass chamber on it, barely visible to the naked eye," Dr Martin Fey, from the Institute of Medical Oncology, Bern, Switzerland, explained. "Chip technology enables you to screen all the characteristics that will show you how the tumour might behave. Thousands of genes can be tested simultaneously."

Although scientists have a good deal of knowledge of genes, current techniques to predict the prognosis are very time consuming. Using chip technology and computer analysis, the tests can be accomplished in just a few hours. "Despite the great advantages of speed, chip technology should not replace the traditional methods of analysis," he said. More effort needs to be invested in quality control and clinical trials. Still in its development phase, and very expensive, Dr Fey anticipates that microarray analysis may be available in major research centres in a few years but is not likely to be widely used in routine clinical practice for a decade.

The chip technology, however, remains very promising because it can pick up isolated genetic traits as well as provide a complete picture.

"Predictive factors are much more important, since they may guide us in our choice of treatment, tailored to individual tumour patients. It appears that the chip technology is well suited to help us in this way," said Dr Fey.

European Society for Medical Oncology

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

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.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to