Published: Fri, December 07, 2018
Medical | By

10-minute cancer test? Australian scientists say they have it

10-minute cancer test? Australian scientists say they have it

Medical researchers from Australia released a potential bombshell breakthrough in cancer research this week - outlining in a scientific journal how they have developed a cheap and simple blood test that can detect most if not all types of cancer within 10 minutes.

Cancer alters the DNA of healthy cells, particularly in the distribution of molecules known as methyl groups, and the test detects this altered patterning when placed in a solution such as water.

Like this story? Subscribe to FierceBiotech! While the DNA inside normal cells has methyl groups dotted all over it, the DNA inside cancer cells is largely bare, with methyl groups found only in small clusters at different locations.

Helpfully, these molecule clusters fold up into structures which like to stick to gold so can be tested for by using the precious metal.

They used the test on more than 200 tissue and blood samples and found that it was 90 percent accurate in detecting cancerous cells, CNN reported.

Australian researchers have developed a ground-breaking, 10-minute cancer test that might aid patient diagnosis in the future. He added that larger studies are needed to evaluate the accuracy of the test, as well as whether it could be useful for patients, compared with existing tests.

Earlier, dermatologists recommended the use of gold dust, coupled with laser therapy for the treatment of acne in adults.


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

Ged Brady, from the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute said: "This approach represents an exciting step forward in detecting tumor DNA in blood samples and opens up the possibility of a generalized blood-based test to detect cancer".

"Virtually every piece of cancerous DNA we examined had this highly predictable pattern", said Dr. Trau, who is the senior author of a new paper that describes how the pattern could lead to an entirely new approach to cancer diagnostics.

The findings mean that "inexpensive and portable detection devices" could eventually be tapped as diagnostic tools, "possibly with a mobile phone", said the team's Professor Matt Trau.

One question posed by Di Carlo: Do results depend on how much DNA is added - especially since cancer cells have more DNA? Even better, the test works on circulating free DNA, molecular fragments that drift through easily obtained body fluids.

"But it looks really interesting as an incredibly simple universal marker of cancer, and as a very accessible and affordable technology that does not require complicated lab-based equipment like DNA sequencing".

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