A highly sensitive test capable of looking for DNA attachments may signal the early symptoms of cancer that can potentially improve treatment outcomes .
The research may make the detection and treatment of cancer much easier.
To reach the conclusion, scientists used tiny crystals called quantum dots.
The test, which detects both the presence and the quantity of certain DNA changes, could alert people who are at risk of developing the disease and could tell doctors how well a particular cancer treatment is working.
The development has been reported in a paper called "MS-qFRET: a quantum dot-based method for analysis of DNA methylation," published in the August issue of the journal Genome Research. The work also was presented at a conference of the American Association of Cancer Research.
"If it leads to early detection of cancer, this test could have huge clinical implications," said Jeff Tza-Huei Wang, an associate professor of mechanical engineering whose lab team played a leading role in developing the technique.
"Doctors usually have the greatest success in fighting cancer if they can treat it in its early stage," the expert added.
To make the scientific breakthrough, Wang and his students developed the test over the past three years with colleagues at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center.