Scientists Develop New Technology To Detect Cancer

April 20, 2005

Researchers at the University of Liverpool have developed a breakthrough technology that identifies molecular markers in early lung cancer.
The new technology, created in collaboration with SEQUENOM, developers of genetic analysis products, and Methexis Genomics, uses a DNA analysis technique called methylation profiling to detect cells in the lung that are likely to become cancerous.

There are a number of genetic mechanisms that can alter the characteristics of a normal cell and change it into a cancer cell. One of these mechanisms is methylation, which causes a change in the DNA structure of particular genes and results in altering its control – this may switch the gene on or off at the wrong time in the cell cycle.

Dr Lakis Liloglou, Head of the University’s Lung Cancer Molecular Biomarkers Group, explains: “This is of particular importance in lung cancer research, as the changes in methylation status of the DNA are considered to be a marker for early disease detection.

“Even though DNA methylation analysis has been a previous area of research, prior techniques had a range of technical limitations, that prevented them from being of any real clinical use. This newly developed method overcomes many of the problems and combines the sensitivity of high-powered microscopes with the capability of analysing many samples at a time.”

As part of their research to develop the new technology, the team, based at the University of Liverpool Cancer Research Centre, analysed the methylation profile of 47 genes in lung specimens from 48 patients with a history of smoking. The genes that were selected were known to be involved in cancer development and in this study they were able to accurately determine the relationship between gene methylation in normal and tumour tissue, which in the long term will be of enormous value in identifying high risk individuals.

Professor John Field, Director of the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Research Programme, said: "Early detection of lung cancer is the prime objective of our research programme. This depends on the identification of early biomarkers in patients who are at risk of developing the disease prior to clinical symptoms.

"The partnership between the University and Sequenom has provided a breakthrough in our goal to detect early genetic changes in individuals who are at the highest risk.”

The research is being presented this week at the 96th annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) in Anaheim, California.

Source: University of Liverpool

Explore further: Developing a urine test for various types of cancer

Related Stories

Developing a urine test for various types of cancer

February 1, 2018

Detecting cancer of various types, in a very early stage and using a simple urine sample. That is the ambition of the new startup company NanoMed Diagnostics. Years of research, by scientists of the University of Twente and ...

New computational method reveals chemoresistance drug targets

January 30, 2018

Osaka – In cancer, one of the most important features is the methylation of deoxycytosine to form 5-methylcytosine (5mC). DNA methylation is a process by which methyl groups (structural units of organic compounds consisting ...

Insights on how SHARPIN promotes cancer progression

December 11, 2017

Researchers at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery (SBP) and the Technion in Israel have found a new role for the SHARPIN protein. In addition to being one of three proteins in the linear ubiquitin chain assembly complex ...

Combination strategy could hold promise for ovarian cancer

December 5, 2017

Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers demonstrated that mice with ovarian cancer that received drugs to reactivate dormant genes along with other drugs that activate the immune system had a greater reduction of tumor ...

Identical twins can share more than identical genes

January 9, 2018

An international group of researchers has discovered a new phenomenon that occurs in identical twins: independent of their identical genes, they share an additional level of molecular similarity that influences their biological ...

Recommended for you

Researchers turn light upside down

February 23, 2018

Researchers from CIC nanoGUNE (San Sebastian, Spain) and collaborators have reported in Science the development of a so-called hyperbolic metasurface on which light propagates with completely reshaped wafefronts. This scientific ...

Recurrences in an isolated quantum many-body system

February 23, 2018

It is one of the most astonishing results of physics—when a complex system is left alone, it will return to its initial state with almost perfect precision. Gas particles, for example, chaotically swirling around in a container, ...

Hauling antiprotons around in a van

February 22, 2018

A team of researchers working on the antiProton Unstable Matter Annihilation (PUMA) project near CERN's particle laboratory, according to a report in Nature, plans to capture a billion antiprotons, put them in a shipping ...

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.