Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hopkins Researchers Develop A Non-Invasive Screening Test For Cancer

Date:
March 28, 2000
Source:
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Summary:
Researchers at Johns Hopkins have developed a novel approach for detecting cancer based on new targets for genetic mutations found outside a cell's nucleus.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins have developed a novel approach for detecting cancer based on new targets for genetic mutations found outside a cell's nucleus.

The research team, led by David Sidransky, M.D., professor of otolaryngology and oncology, uses mitochondrial DNA to identify genetic mutations in bladder, head and neck and lung cancers. Their work is reported in the March 17, 2000, issue of Science. Mitochondria are specialized parts of cells largely responsible for generating energy. Multiple copies exist in all cells, and they contain the only DNA located outside of the cell nucleus. The Hopkins team first identified mitochondrial mutations linked to bladder, head and neck and lung cancers. Then, they studied paired urine, saliva, and lavage samples from twenty patients with these cancers in search of similar mitochondrial mutations that could be used in diagnostic tests.

The team detected mutations in all of bladder and lung cancer patients and most (six out of nine) of the head and neck cancer patients. The mitochondrial mutations observed in the bodily fluids were identical to those obtained in the primary tumors. "Until now, finding cancer-specific mutations in bodily fluids was like looking for a needle in a haystack," says Sidransky. "Finding mitochondrial mutations is much easier. With additional research, we expect to be able to identify mitochondrial mutations through a simple blood test," he says.

Until now, most cancer-related genetic mutations have been identified in nuclear DNA only. A cell nucleus contains only two copies of DNA, one inherited from each parent. In contrast, many copies of mitochondrial DNA are contained within each cell, and these increased numbers make them easier to identify than nuclear mutations, explains Makiko S. Fliss, M.D., one of Sidransky's co-investigators and first author of the paper. When the researchers compared mitochondrial mutations to p53 mutations found in nuclear DNA in the tumor and bodily fluid samples they studied, they observed a 20-200 fold increase in the number of mutations among mitochondria. "It's not that the nuclear mutations are not important, it's that the sheer numbers of mutated mitochondrial DNA are easier to identify," says Scott Eleff, M.D., M.S., associate professor of anesthesiology and collaborator in this study.

Sidransky envisions use of mitochondrial DNA for cancer screening, one day, working much like mammography does in screening for breast cancer. "For example," he says, "someone at higher risk of developing lung cancer because of a history of smoking could provide a sputum sample. That sample would be analyzed to obtain a base line description of the individual's mitochondrial genome. In subsequent visits, new sputum samples would be collected and compared to the base line for changes. If new mutations are observed, we would be in a better position to intervene while the cancer is in an early and curable stage."

Further trials of this new cancer detection method in a variety of human cancers may begin as early as next year.

Lung, head and neck, and bladder cancers strike more than 265,000 people in the U.S. and take the lives of an additional 180,000 people. Lung cancer is the most common type of cancer, but because symptoms often do not appear until the disease is advanced, early detection has been difficult.

In addition to Sidransky, Fliss, and Eleff, additional participants in this research include Henning Usadel; Otavia L. Caballero; Li Wu; Martin R. Buta, B.A.; and Jin Jen, M.D., Ph.D.

This research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute's newly formed Early Detection Research Network.

Related Web sites:

Johns Hopkins Oncology Center:
http://www.hopkins.cancercenter.jhmi.edu

Johns Hopkins Thoracic Oncology Program:
http://www.med.jhu.edu/jhtop


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "Hopkins Researchers Develop A Non-Invasive Screening Test For Cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 March 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/03/000328085225.htm>.
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. (2000, March 28). Hopkins Researchers Develop A Non-Invasive Screening Test For Cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/03/000328085225.htm
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "Hopkins Researchers Develop A Non-Invasive Screening Test For Cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/03/000328085225.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Cases Keep Coming for Monrovia's Island Hospital

Ebola Cases Keep Coming for Monrovia's Island Hospital

AFP (Oct. 1, 2014) A look inside Monrovia's Island Hospital, a key treatment centre in the fight against Ebola in Liberia's capital city. Duration: 00:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Puts Stress on Liberian Health Workers

Ebola Puts Stress on Liberian Health Workers

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) The Ebola outbreak is putting stress on first responders in Liberia. Ambulance drivers say they are struggling with chronic shortages of safety equipment and patients who don't want to go to the hospital. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Reassure Public Ebola Patient Won't Cause Outbreak

Doctors Reassure Public Ebola Patient Won't Cause Outbreak

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) After the announcement that the first U.S. patient had been diagnosed with Ebola, doctors were quick to say a U.S. outbreak is highly unlikely. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
TX Hospital Confirms Patient Admitted With Ebola

TX Hospital Confirms Patient Admitted With Ebola

AP (Sep. 30, 2014) Medical officials from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital confirm they are treating a patient with the Ebola virus, the first case found in the US. (Sept. 30 Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins