Researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia have created a new diagnostic test that can identify the presence of…
Researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia have created a new diagnostic test that can identify the presence of a tumor in the body based on a unique DNA nanostructure that seems common to all types of cancer.
The new test is designed to readily detect non-invasively cancer of blood or biopsy tissue within ten minutes by analyzing methyl group changes at an entire genomic level.
“Because of the discovery, researchers designed a test of gold nanoparticles that change color in the presence of the 3D nanostructures of cancer DNA.”
Methyl groups, which are small molecules on DNA, turned out to be significantly altered in cancer patients. The team observed that the methyl groups were spread across the genome in healthy cells but were only present at specific sites on the cancer genome.
Because of the discovery, the researchers designed a test of gold nanoparticles that change color in the presence of the 3D nanostructures of cancer DNA.
Professor Matt Trau, professor at the University of Queensland, said that “detecting that cancer DNA molecules formed completely different 3D nanostructures from normal circulating DNA was a breakthrough that has enabled a whole new approach to detecting non-cancerous invasive in any tissue type including blood.
“This led to the creation of cheap and portable detection devices that could eventually be used as a diagnostic tool, possibly with a mobile phone.”
When tested in 200 human cancer samples and normal DNA, the new diagnostic test is said to have shown an accuracy of up to 90%.
Trau added: “We really do not know if it’s the sacred degree of all cancer diagnosis, but it looks very interesting as an incredibly simple universal cancer marker and as an accessible and inexpensive technology that does not require complicated laboratory-based equipment such as DNA sequencing . “
However, the technique requires further development, as it currently only determines the occurrence of cancer but not the type or stage of the disease.
The University of Queensland team collaborated with its commercialization company UniQuest on further development and licensing of technology.