Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Blood test to locate gene defects associated with cancer may not be far off

Date:
January 8, 2014
Source:
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Summary:
A simple blood test that can locate gene defects associated with cancer? New research suggests the technology may not be too far off.

Some surprising research findings from scientists at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center suggest it's possible a simple blood test could be developed to determine whether gene mutations associated with pancreatic cancer exist without the need of locating and testing tumor tissue. This appears possible following the discovery that tiny particles the size of viruses called 'exosomes,' which are shed by cancer cells into the blood, contain the entire genetic blueprint of cancer cells. By decoding this genomic data and looking for deletions and mutations associated with cancer, the research team believes this discovery could be translated into a test that helps physicians detect cancer and treat patients.

The findings are based on research led by Raghu Kalluri, M.D., Ph.D., chairman and professor in MD Anderson's Department of Cancer Biology. The research results appear in the current online edition of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

"At the present time, there is no single blood test that can screen for all cancer related DNA defects," said Kalluri. "In many cases, current protocols require a tumor sample to determine whether gene mutations and deletions exist and therefore determine whether the tumor itself is cancerous or benign. To procure tumor tissue, one needs to know that a tumor exists and if so, is it accessible for sample collection or removal? Finally, there are always risks and significant costs associated with surgical procedures to acquire tumor tissue."

Historically, researchers were aware these miniscule particles existed and that they carried nucleic acids and proteins. It was also believed that exosomes carried small portions of the person's DNA. However, upon further investigation, the MD Anderson research team was surprised to learn that the person's entire double-stranded genomic DNA spanning all chromosomes can be found in exosomes, including those mutated chromosomes that cause various cancers. Furthermore, Kalluri and colleagues discovered that DNA derived from exosomes carried the same cancer-related genetic mutations compared to the cancer cells taken from tumor.

"Because different forms of cancer are associated with different chromosomal mutations , we believe analysis of exosome DNA taken from blood samples may not only help determine the presence of a cancerous tumor somewhere in the body but also identify mutations without a need for tumor sample," added Kalluri. "We also believe this "fingerprint" will help lead us to the likely site of the tumor in the body. For instance, certain mutation spectrums would suggest pancreatic cancer or a brain-based tumor. While there is much more work to be conducted to develop such a test, having a tool such as this would increase our abilities to detect cancer in an earlier stage and therefore increase our chances of effective treatment."

"This seminal discovery paves the way for highly sensitive screening for driver mutations of cancer in the blood without the need for biopsy of tumor tissue and importantly, lays the foundation for a new method for the early detection of cancer when the chance for cure is greatest," said MD Anderson President Ronald A. DePinho, M.D.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. C. Kahlert, S. A. Melo, A. Protopopov, J. Tang, S. Seth, M. Koch, J. Zhang, J. Weitz, L. Chin, A. Futreal, R. Kalluri. Identification of Double Stranded Genomic DNA Spanning all Chromosomes with Mutated KRAS and p53 DNA in the Serum Exosomes of Patients with Pancreatic Cancer. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2014; DOI: 10.1074/jbc.C113.532267

Cite This Page:

University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. "Blood test to locate gene defects associated with cancer may not be far off." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140108154041.htm>.
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. (2014, January 8). Blood test to locate gene defects associated with cancer may not be far off. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140108154041.htm
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. "Blood test to locate gene defects associated with cancer may not be far off." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140108154041.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ramen Health Risks: The Dark Side of the Noodle

Ramen Health Risks: The Dark Side of the Noodle

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) South Koreans eat more instant ramen noodles per capita than anywhere else in the world. But American researchers say eating too much may increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 20, 2014) A patient who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus is in isolation at the Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
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:
from the past week

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