Blood 'fingerprints' for cancer

September 3, 2008

Serum microRNAs (miRNAs) can serve as biomarkers for the detection of diseases including cancer and diabetes, according to research published online this week in Cell Research. The findings pave the way for a revolutionary non-invasive diagnostic tool.

miRNAs are a class of naturally occurring small non-coding RNAs that have been linked with cancer development. Recent studies reporting individual miRNAs as diagnostic biomarkers of specific cancers were unable to rule out the possibility that these miRNAs appeared as a result of contamination.

Chen-Yu Zhang and colleagues are the first to comprehensively characterize entire blood miRNA profiles of healthy subjects and patients with lung cancer, colorectal cancer and diabetes, ruling out contamination. They propose that the specific serum miRNA expression profiles they identified constitute ‘fingerprints’ for cancer and disease.

Although tumour markers greatly improve diagnosis, current diagnostic techniques are prohibitively invasive and therefore have limited clinical application. The new approach is non-invasive and has the potential to transform the clinical management of various cancers and diseases through improving disease diagnosis, cancer classification, prognosis estimation, prediction of therapeutic efficacy, maintenance of surveillance following surgery, and the ability to forecast disease recurrence. The new technique will also be useful to pharmacological companies in identifying population subgroups who are responsive to drugs that have failed in phase III clinical trials.

Source: Nanjing University School of Life Sciences

Explore further: Researchers find 'decoder ring' powers in micro RNA

Related Stories

Researchers find 'decoder ring' powers in micro RNA

May 26, 2015

MicroRNA can serve as a "decoder ring" for understanding complex biological processes, a team of New York University chemists has found. Their study, which appears in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, points ...

Researchers perform DNA computation in living cells

July 10, 2013

(Phys.org) —Chemists from North Carolina State University have performed a DNA-based logic-gate operation within a human cell. The research may pave the way to more complicated computations in live cells, as well as new ...

Recommended for you

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...

Quantum Theory May Explain Wishful Thinking

April 14, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Humans don’t always make the most rational decisions. As studies have shown, even when logic and reasoning point in one direction, sometimes we chose the opposite route, motivated by personal bias or simply ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.