Scientists Develop 'Universal Cancer Test' That Could Provide Results In 10 Minutes

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After a bunch of experiments, the expert hit on the new test for cancer.

But it is the latest step as scientists compete to find blood tests which can diagnose cancer and spare people painful biopsies to remove parts of their organs or skin and check the tissue for tumours. Though made of gold, the particles turn the water pink.

The portable, affordable test could help detect cancer far sooner than current methods, according to the authors of the study in the December 4 issue of Nature Communications.

"This led to the creation of low-cost and portable detection devices that could eventually be used as a diagnostic tool, possibly with a mobile phone".

It should be noted that the test can not determine which one cancer or at what stage.

In the DNA of normal cells, the process of methylation, which determines which genes should "work" and which should be disabled. For this test, he said, they looked at patterns of methyl groups over the DNA. This modification prevents certain genes from being expressed.

When circulating tumor DNA fragments are placed in water, they begin to fold into 3D shapes different than DNA from healthy cells-driven by the dense clusters of methyl groups found along DNA molecules that have been reprogrammed by cancer. In cancer cells, however, methyl groups only cluster in specific points. Researchers said the test could be used as an initial check for cancers wherein doctors could follow up positive results.

Researchers from the University of Queensland just developed a new approach to expedite the detection of not just one cancer, but all of its kind. It detects a simple physical event, a color change or an electrochemical signal, that occurs when cancer-reprogrammed DNA clumps around gold nanoparticles.

So the researchers focused on DNA that circulates in the bloodstream after cancer cells die and release their cargo.

The blood test detected cancer with 90 percent accuracy in the University of Queensland's tests of different human cancers and healthy cells and can be done in only 10 minutes.

Dr. Jeffrey Weber, the deputy director of the Perlmutter Cancer Center at New York University's Langone Health, called the new study "great science" and applauded the idea of looking for a way to detect the cancer DNA methylscape.

The breakthrough could lead to much earlier detection and increase the chance that treatment works because it could be started before traditional symptoms develop. A less invasive test that has the potential to spot cancer earlier could transform how patients are screened for the disease.