Blood test detects early-stage ovarian cancer
Researchers from the University of Adelaide and Griffith University have developed a new blood test for the early diagnosis of ovarian cancer.
The research team has been studying the interactions between the toxin and an abnormal glycan (sugar) expressed on the surface of human cancer cells and released into the blood. The team has now engineered a harmless portion of the toxin to enhance its specificity for the cancer glycan and used this to detect it in blood samples from women with ovarian cancer.
The test detected significant levels of the cancer glycan in blood samples from over 90% of women with stage 1 ovarian cancer and in 100% of samples from later stages of the disease, but not in any of the samples from healthy controls.
“Ovarian cancer is notoriously difficult to detect in its early stages, when there are more options for treatment and survival rates are better. Our new test is therefore a potential game changer,” said Professor James Paton, Director of the University of Adelaide’s Research Centre for Infectious Diseases.
The findings have published in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications.
The team is currently seeking scientific and commercial partners to further test the technology with larger numbers of patient samples and to adapt it for mass screening.
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