Australian researchers claim breakthrough by 10-min cancer test

Desiree Burns
December 7, 2018

As reported by the portal "Znayu" team of microbiologists from the University of John Hopkins have developed a test that detects the presence of chlamydia in 30 minutes.

The study published by Nature Journal on Tuesday says Queensland researchers have created a simple test which uses a colour-changing fluid to confirm the presence of cancerous cells anywhere in the body. Researchers said the test could be used as an initial check for cancers wherein doctors could follow up positive results.

According to Laura Carrascosa, a researcher at the University of Queensland, the main advantage of the technique, which has a sensitivity of about 90 per cent (would detect 90 in 100 cases of cancer), is that it is low-priced and simple.

"We designed a simple test using gold nanoparticles that instantly change color to determine if the 3D nanostructures of cancer DNA are present".

"On normal cells, these [beads] are evenly distributed, but in cancer cells they're actually bunched up together", he said.

In the DNA of healthy cells, small molecules called methyl groups are used as a form of "volume control", turning genes on and off so that they can perform the functions required for the specific kind...

Have the affected cells this mechanism is disturbed, included only those genes that help the disease to develop.

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The scientists confirmed similar results with prostate cancer, colorectal and lymphoma.

While further research and development is still underway, the procedure is expected to open new corollaries of screening methods. These complex structures depending upon the epigenetic pattern would then stick to gold nanoparticles used for the test.

DNA of healthy and cancerous cells in different ways attached to the metal base.

Because cancer is such a slow-developing disease, Di Carlo said the study's detection time of 10 minutes, versus the normal wait time of one week, isn't necessarily a game-changer. Dr P K Julka, senior director, Max Daycare Oncology, told TOI: "If validated further through human trials, this test could prove revolutionary for early diagnosis and treatment of cancer", he said. The procedure is invasive and relies on the patient noticing a lump, or reporting symptoms that their GP recognises as a potential sign of cancer.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, and is responsible for an estimated 9.6 million deaths in 2018, according to estimates from the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Cancer blood tests became possible after scientists realised the importance of DNA released when cancer cells die, which is carried in the bloodstream.

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