Technique may help assess how cancers respond to treatment, researchers say

| April 19, 2009

HealthDay (4/13, Preidt) reported that, according to a study published online Apr. 12 in the journal Nature Medicine, "a specialized technique that can detect subtle changes in cancer cells contained in a drop of blood or a tiny piece of tissue may one day be used by doctors to better assess how cancers are responding to treatment." Lead author Dr. Alice Fan, a clinical instructor in the oncology division at the Stanford University School of Medicine, noted that "the standard way [to] measure if a treatment is working is to wait several weeks to see if the tumor mass shrinks." But, a novel technique that would "continuously analyze small samples from cancer patients undergoing treatment may help doctors identify 'rogue' cells before they can create a more treatment-resistant tumor."


MedPage Today (4/13, Smith) reported that the technique, called nanofluidic proteomic immunoassay (NIA), "separates cancer-associated proteins in narrow capillary tubes based on their electric charge." And, "when luminescent antibodies are added to the mix, the precise concentration of different proteins along the capillary can be read off in relative luminescence units." Testing the method on "a group of patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia," the researchers found that "the seven who responded to tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy showed a decrease of 54 percent to 100 percent in a monophosphorylated form of extracellular signal-related kinase-2 (ERK2)." Meanwhile, "two patients who did not respond to the therapy showed no decrease."

Category: General Healthcare News

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