Sound waves may hold potential to diagnose whether tumour will spread

Scientists from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA), Pennsylvania State University (University Park, PA), and Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA) have collectively published a paper on cell separation using sound waves. The study initially focused on separating tiny plastic beads varying from 7.3 to 9.9 microns in diameter, resulting in 97% sorting accuracy. They then moved on to separating white blood cells (20 microns) and MCF-breast cancer tumour cells (12 microns), achieving 71% accuracy. The potential for this tool holds great significance in the medical field as finding tumour cells in the blood indicates the spreading of a tumour. When a tumour is about to spread, some cells migrate into the blood via a process called extravasation and travel to another site in the body. Continue reading

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New blood test holds the potential to diagnose all types of cancer

Researchers from The University of Bradford in the UK have developed a new blood test which utilises the damaging properties of UVA (Ultraviolet) light to potentially detect all types of cancer.

Early diagnosis is more difficult in certain types of cancer such as melanoma, colon cancer and lung cancer; consequently lowering the survival rates. This is usually because the symptoms themselves do not clearly show until the later stages of the disease, meaning that treatment is more often complicated and intense than if there had been a diagnosis earlier on. The new blood test could therefore prove to be an invaluable diagnostic tool if the future trials prove to be as accurate as these early results. Continue reading

Biological signatures of mutated cells could be the key to tracing the origin of cancer in patients

A new tool, currently in development by researchers at Stanford University, can detect fatty acids produced by mutated cancer cells. These fatty acids are produced via the reassembling of glucose and glutamine that has been ingested. The metabolism of these molecules are regulated in normal cells via proto-oncogenes; genes which code for proteins that help to regulate cell growth and differentiation. Mutated proto-oncogenes are called oncogenes, and these cause an increase the amount of glucose and glutamine metabolised, and subsequently have the capability to cause cancer. Continue reading