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New Blood Test Detects Colon Cancer Before it Develops

A new blood test developed in the Gastrointestinal Cancer Research Lab at Baylor Research Institute is showing very promising results for finding cancer-related microRNA in the blood before a tumor develops in the colon.

The test results, published in the latest issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, are exciting and promising because this simple blood-based test examines the levels of a single microRNA – a small RNA molecule that can be readily identified in a wide variety of bodily fluids, including blood. In this seminal study the investigators studied several hundred patients with colorectal polyps and cancers and reported that measuring levels of miR-21 in the blood can accurately identify up to 92 percent of patients with colorectal cancer. Even more importantly, not only is this test good for non-invasively identifying patients who already have colorectal cancer, but it can accurately identify up to 82 percent of patients with advanced colonic polyps, which present the highest risk for developing into colorectal cancers several years later in life.

“The development of this biomarker is highly encouraging because high mortality rates associated with colorectal cancer is a consequence of late detection of this disease, underscoring the need for improved early detection, prevention, risk assessment and intervention,” said Ajay Goel, PhD, director of Epigenetics and Cancer Prevention at Baylor Research Institute. Early detection of advanced colorectal polyps and cancers is considered the most relevant target for screening strategies and the best approach to improving survival of these patients. “This blood-based test could be transformative in how we screen patients for colorectal cancer; it would save lives and could result in major savings of health care dollars,” said Michael Ramsay, MD, president of Baylor Research Institute.

While more testing needs to be done, the findings were enough to warrant an editorial in the highly regarded Journal by Heinz-Josef Lenz, MD, associate director for clinical research at the University of Southern California‟s Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. “MiR-21 may not be ‘just another brick in the wall’ but rather may be the keystone leading to a molecularly justified, miRNA-based biomarker era in colorectal cancer,” Dr. Lenz said in the Journal.

Study: Serum miR-21 as a Diagnostic and Prognostic Biomarker in Colorectal Cancer

Source: PR Newswire

Brigham and Women’s Hospital Researchers Fnd that Missing Pieces of DNA Structure are a Red Flag for Deadly Skin Cancer

Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer and is the leading cause of death from skin disease. Rates are steadily increasing, and although risk increases with age, melanoma is now frequently seen in young people. But what if we could pinpoint when seemingly innocuous skin pigment cells mutate into melanoma? Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) have achieved this. Teams led by Yujiang Geno Shi, PhD, from BWH’s Department of Medicine, and George F. Murphy, MD, from BWH’s Department of Pathology have discovered a new biomarker for the lethal disease. The findings offer novel opportunities for skin cancer diagnostics, treatment and prevention.

DoD Announces Prostate Cancer Biomarker Development Award

Last month, the Department of Defense (DoD) announced a Prostate Cancer Research Program (PCRP) Biomarker Development Award. The award supports high-impact research aimed at qualifying or validating biomarkers for rapid transfer to clinical practice for prostate cancer.

Fighting Breast Cancer: New EU-funded Biomarker Project Kicks Off

A new EU-funded biomarker project that aims to get breast cancer therapy more tailored to individual patients has just got under way. By ensuring that breast cancer therapy is specifically designed with an individual patient in mind, medical practitioners can bypass ineffective treatments – saving both valuable time and energy.

PrognosDx Health and Accium BioSciences Enter Into Collaborative and Research Agreement to Develop Clinical Tests Based on Histone Biomarkers

PrognosDx Health, a pioneering company in cancer epigenetics, announced today that Dr. Jeffrey L. Wolf has joined its scientific advisory board. An expert in multiple myeloma and other hematopoietic malignancies, Dr. Wolf also specializes in bone marrow transplantation for treatment of a variety of cancers. Dr. Wolf is the Director of the Multiple Myeloma Program in the Division of Hematology and Oncology at the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and a Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCSF.

It was also announced that PrognosDx Health and Accium BioSciences (Seattle, Washington) have entered into a collaboration agreement aimed at co-developing and commercializing a series of high-value predictive histone biomarker tests. The collaboration combines the expertise and breakthrough epigenetic platform technology of PrognosDx with the accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) platform of Accium BioSciences.