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Friday February 19, 15:26

Researchers invent a test revealing the genetic signature of tumor

Researchers identified biomarkers specific to a tumor in blood by blood test
Researchers identified biomarkers specific to a tumor in blood by blood test

The U.S. researchers have developed the first genetic test that can identify biomarkers specific to a tumor in blood, a breakthrough that could improve the personalized treatment of cancer.

"This technique represents an important step in the application of technology to sequence the human genome for personalizing cancer care," said Dr. Victor Velculescu, professor of oncology at the medical faculty of Johns Hopkins University (Maryland).

This research, which will appear in the journal Science Translational Medicine on February 24, was the subject of a presentation at the annual conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) held from February 18 to 22 in San Diego (California).

This test should help to track and monitor the evolution of cancerous cells or recurring tumors, showing whether the treatment is effective.

This technique detects very accurately the genetic signature of tumor or what remains after surgery, during chemotherapy or radiology.

One almost universal feature of human cancers is the modification of their DNA. So far, it was very difficult to detect and locate precisely these genetic changes in the tumor.

Working on six cases of cancer, four colon and two breast, the team of Dr. Velculescu could create biomarkers on the basis of these genetic sequences unique to each tumor.

A simple blood test can detect presence of DNA of cancerous tumor in large quantities in blood or other fluids which DNA is otherwise normal.

These tests can be done very simply, after surgical removal of a tumor or other therapies, to measure the effectiveness of these treatments.

To Dr. Luis Diaz, assistant professor of oncology at Johns Hopkins, "This technique will detect the presence of recurrent cancer before they are uncovered by conventional methods such as scanners.

The technologies of genome sequencing will become less expensive, said Dr. Velculescu, indicating that the sequencing for the study patients had cost $5,000 per person.

"If the current trend in the genome sequencing continues, this test called PARE (Personalized Analysis of Rearranged Ends) will become cheaper and be more effective than the scanners," suggests Dr. Kenneth Kinzler, professor of oncology at Johns Hopkins.

The researchers plan to test a greater number of tumors in order to develop a commercially viable blood test based on genomic technologies.


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