Scientists at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre,
Seattle have uncovered a new test that might detect the earliest signs of
cancer which would make treatment more effective.
The test focuses on scraps of genetic material called
microRNAs, which are released into the blood by cancer cells. "Current
technology for developing tests to measure microRNAs in clinical samples is
quite advanced, whereas the bottleneck for developing protein-based biomarkers
is the slow process of generating assays for measuring specific proteins,"
lead author Dr Muneesh Tewari told the Daily Telegraph.
The researchers are now examining the exact microRNAs
that determine the presence of specific cancer. "MicroRNAs, which weren't
previously thought of as markers of cancer in the blood, are a worthwhile class
of molecules to study for the purpose of early cancer detection," Dr
The details of the study appear in the Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences.