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Revolutionary cancer diagnosis: blood test detects all cancer diseases within a few minutes

Revolutionary cancer diagnosis: blood test detects all cancer diseases within a few minutes


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Can this rapid test revolutionize cancer diagnostics?

A novel blood or tissue test can diagnose cancer in just ten minutes. The basis is a newly discovered DNA structure that appears to occur in all types of cancer. The test quickly and easily detects whether these structures are present in the blood or in the tissue. The cancer test was recently introduced by an Australian research team.

Researchers at the University of Queensland developed a new method for diagnosing cancer. The special thing about it is that it is a quick test that starts with all cancer diseases. The team around Dr. Abu Sina, Dr. Laura Carrascosa and Professor Matt Trau discovered a unique nanostructure in DNA that all types of cancer seem to share. The presence of this structure indicates an illness. The research results were recently published in the renowned journal "Nature Communications".

Breakthrough in cancer diagnosis

So far, diagnosing cancer has been a complicated matter because each type of cancer has its own signature. Most forms of cancer therefore require a special diagnostic method. This makes early detection of tumor diseases difficult, which is, however, extremely important for the healing process. Now researchers have found a simple signature that differs from healthy cells and is common to all types of cancer.

A structure that unites all forms of cancer

"This unique DNA signature occurred in every type of cancer we examined - including breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, and lymph node cancer," reports Dr. Abu Sina in a press release on the study results. The tiny methyl groups attached to the DNA are crucial. According to Sina, these groups change drastically due to the presence of cancer.

How cancer is visible in the genome

"In healthy cells, these methyl groups are distributed across the genome," explains Dr. Carrascosa. In the cancer cell genome, on the other hand, there is an intensive accumulation of methyl groups at very specific locations. The research group has now developed a tool for cancer diagnosis that can be used to uncover these pattern changes in the methyl groups within minutes.

How Gold Contributes to Cancer Diagnosis

Professor Trau explains how the test works: The groupings of the methyl groups, which indicate cancer, lead to a unique three-dimensional folding in a nanostructure. This structure easily sticks to certain surfaces. According to Trau, gold has a perfect surface to which the special structures prefer to adhere. "We developed a simple test with gold nanoparticles that immediately change color to determine whether there are 3D nanostructures of cancer DNA," Professor Trau summarizes the research results.

Cancer cells release their DNA in the blood

The research group further explains that cancer cells release their DNA in the blood plasma when they die. The blood test with the gold particles captures this released cancer DNA. "Discovering that cancerous DNA molecules formed completely different 3D nanostructures than normal circulating DNA was a breakthrough that enabled a completely new approach to diagnosing cancer in every type of tissue, including blood," said the professor.

Inexpensive, mobile and accurate

"This led to the development of an inexpensive and mobile detection device that could possibly be used as a diagnostic tool for cancer," said Trau. The device could possibly even be controlled via a smartphone. So far, tests on 200 human cancer samples have shown 90 percent accuracy in diagnosis.

The holy grail of cancer diagnosis?

"We don't yet know whether it is the holy grail for all cancer diagnostics," emphasizes the professor. But the discovery offers a simple and universal cancer marker that can be recognized by an inexpensive technology that does not even require complicated laboratory equipment for detection. The University of Queensland is currently looking for a suitable partner with whom it can further develop the blood test and bring it to market. (vb)

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