Newly Developed Cancer Test Is Cheaper, Faster and More Accurate

The Huntsman Cancer Institute has formulated a faster way of acquiring a more accurate data on suspected cancer patients.

Researchers from the HCI at the University of Utah have discovered a new method of determining cancer-causing rearrangements of genetic material called chromosomal translocations occurring in tumor cells of many cancers, which is said to be cheaper, faster, more accurate than the previous cancer tests.

Current methods used today for identifying these cancer-causing translocations prove to have shortcomings even though hundreds of these translocations have already been discovered.

The new technique combines microarray technology together with a novel antibody which is able to determine the presence of the translocation.

"Originally, this method was used in HCI's Cairns lab (led by Bradley R. Cairns, Ph.D.) to study RNA in yeast. We took their method and applied it to our study of chromosomal translocations in human tissue."

Stephen Lessnick, M.D., Ph. D., director at HCI who developed the technique said.

"We're moving past the age when a pathologist looking through the microscope at a tumor sample is the best way to diagnose what type of cancer it is. The molecular tests currently available are slow, inefficient, and expensive, and one of the biggest issues is that you need high-quality tumor samples, not always available in the clinical setting, to do them." Lessnick added.

The next thing to do now is to find a partner that will help develop the research and use it as an alternative diagnostics test for the medical field.

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