Early cancer detection, some new technologies on the horizon

Urine-based biomarkers for early cancer screening test

A new study has introduced a new technique that validates urine-based biomarkers for early detection of cancer. The research team expects that this may be potentially useful in clinical settings to test urinary EV-based biomarkers for cancer diagnostics.

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Dr. Stegall’s comments: As I always say, the more tools we have in our tool chest, the better. One of the challenges in oncology has been detecting and monitoring cancer. I am excited to learn more about urine testing for cancer, and how it can aid us in the future.

A new method for early cancer detection

It may soon be possible to test a person for cancer with just a drop of their blood and a small machine. As part of a European research project, scientists have developed a device for detecting the HSP70 protein, which is over-expressed in patients with many types of cancer. The objective: to make it possible to diagnose cancer extremely early in the disease process, thereby improving outcomes for patients.

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Dr. Stegall’s comments: Heat shock proteins are important to identify. They are included on the extensive baseline testing I do in my office, and I use them to inform me of each patient’s cancer cells’ potential susceptibility to heat-based treatments such as local hyperthermia and radiation.

Ultrafast detection of a cancer biomarker enabled by innovative nanobiodevice

Researchers have developed a nanobiodevice that can quickly and effectively separate microRNA, short lengths of ribonucleic acid present in bodily fluids, from mixtures of nucleic acids. The nanobiodevice contains a unique array of nanopillars that form a strong electric force under an applied electric field, allowing high-resolution separation of microRNA in less than 100 ms. Because microRNA is a biomarker for cancer, this technology may provide a simple, noninvasive approach for detecting cancer.

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Dr. Stegall’s comments: As research continues to emerge on innovative lab testing for cancer, two challenges remain: are these lab tests valid on a large scale, and can they be cost effective for routine use? Hopefully the answer to both questions will be yes.

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