Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Calcium isotope analysis used to predict myeloma progression

Date:
August 12, 2014
Source:
Arizona State University
Summary:
A staple of Earth science research can be used in biomedical settings to predict the course of disease, researchers have demonstrated. The researchers tested a new approach to detecting bone loss in cancer patients by using calcium isotope analysis to predict whether myeloma patients are at risk for developing bone lesions, a hallmark of the disease.

A team of researchers from Arizona State University and Mayo Clinic is showing how a staple of Earth science research can be used in biomedical settings to predict the course of disease.

Related Articles


The researchers tested a new approach to detecting bone loss in cancer patients by using calcium isotope analysis to predict whether myeloma patients are at risk for developing bone lesions, a hallmark of the disease.

They believe they have a promising technique that could be used to chart the progression of multiple myeloma, a lethal disease that eventually impacts a patient's bones. The method could help tailor therapies to protect bone better and also act as a way to monitor for possible disease progression or recurrence.

"Multiple myeloma is a blood cancer that can cause painful and debilitating bone lesions," said Gwyneth Gordon, an Associate Research Scientist in ASU's School of Earth and Space Exploration, and co-lead author of the study. "We wanted to see if we could use isotope ratio analysis, a common technique in geochemistry, to detect the onset of disease progression."

"At present, there is no good way to track changes in bone balance except retrospectively using x-ray methods," said Ariel Anbar, a President's Professor in ASU's School of Earth and Space Exploration and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. "By the time the x-rays show something the damage has been done."

"Right now, pain is usually the first indication that cancer is affecting the bones," added Rafael Fonseca, Chair of the Department of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic and a member of the research team. "If we could detect it earlier by an analysis of urine or blood in high-risk patients, it could significantly improve their care," he added.

The research team -- which includes Gordon, Melanie Channon and Anbar from ASU and Jorge Monge (co-lead author), Qing Wu and Fonseca from Mayo Clinic -- described the tests and their results in "Predicting multiple myeloma disease activity by analyzing natural calcium isotopic composition," in an early on-line edition (July 9) of the Nature publication Leukemia.

The technique measures the naturally occurring calcium isotopes that the researchers believe can serve as an accurate near-real-time detector of bone metabolism for multiple myeloma patients. Bone destruction in myeloma manifests itself in bone lesions, osteoporosis and fractures. The ASU-Mayo Clinic work builds on a previous NASA study by the ASU team. That research focused on healthy subjects participating in an experiment.

"This is the first demonstration that the technique has some ability to detect bone loss in patients with disease," said Anbar, a biogeochemist at ASU.

With the method, bone loss is detected by carefully analyzing the isotopes of calcium that are naturally present in blood. Isotopes are atoms of an element that differ in their masses. Patients do not need to ingest any artificial tracers and are not exposed to any radiation for the test. The only harm done with the new method, Anbar said, is a pinprick for a blood draw.

The technique makes use of a fact well known to Earth scientists but not normally used in biomedicine -- different isotopes of a chemical element can react at slightly different rates. The earlier NASA study showed that when bones form the lighter isotopes of calcium enter bone a little faster than the heavier isotopes. That difference, called isotope fractionation, is the key to the method.

In healthy, active humans bone is in "balance," meaning bone is forming at about the same rate as it dissolves (resorbs). But if bone loss is occurring, then the isotopic composition of blood becomes enriched in the lighter isotopes as bones resorb more quickly than they are formed.

The effect on calcium isotopes is very small, typically less than a 0.02 percent change in the isotope ratio. But even effects that small can be measured by using precise mass spectrometry methods available at ASU. With the new test, the ASU-Mayo Clinic researchers found that there was an association between how active the disease was and the change in the isotope ratios. In addition, the isotope ratios predicted disease activity better than, and independent from, standard clinical variables.

Anbar said that while the method has worked on a small set of patients, much still needs to be done to verify initial findings and improve the efficiency of analysis.

"If the method proves to be robust after more careful validation, it could provide earlier detection of bone involvement than presently possible and also provide the possibility to monitor the effectiveness of drugs to combat bone loss."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Arizona State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. G W Gordon, J Monge, M B Channon, Q Wu, J L Skulan, A D Anbar, R Fonseca. Predicting multiple myeloma disease activity by analyzing natural calcium isotopic composition. Leukemia, 2014; DOI: 10.1038/leu.2014.193

Cite This Page:

Arizona State University. "Calcium isotope analysis used to predict myeloma progression." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140812122415.htm>.
Arizona State University. (2014, August 12). Calcium isotope analysis used to predict myeloma progression. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140812122415.htm
Arizona State University. "Calcium isotope analysis used to predict myeloma progression." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140812122415.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Rural India's Low-Cost Sanitary Pad Revolution

Rural India's Low-Cost Sanitary Pad Revolution

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — One man hopes his invention -– a machine that produces cheap sanitary pads –- will help empower Indian women. Duration: 01:51 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO Says Male Ebola Survivors Should Abstain From Sex

WHO Says Male Ebola Survivors Should Abstain From Sex

Newsy (Nov. 28, 2014) — WHO cites four studies that say Ebola can still be detected in semen up to 82 days after the onset of symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
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