Towards the early diagnosis of ovarian cancer with a urine test: this is the promise that comes from a Commonwealth University study presented at the 68th Biophysical Society Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Previous research has shown that there are thousands of small molecules, called peptides, in the urine of women with ovarian cancer. Experts have been looking for a new approach to more easily detect those peptides in urine in a low-cost way. The team used nanopore technology, which has the potential to simultaneously detect multiple peptides. In practice, the method involves the passage of molecules through a tiny pore, or nanopore, and in this way various properties of the molecules are measured.
The method is capable of identifying multiple peptides simultaneously; In the study, experts identified and analyzed 13 peptides, including those derived from LRG-1, a biomarker found in the urine of ovarian cancer patients. Clinical data shows a 50-75% improvement in 5-year survival when tumors are detected in their earliest stages. According to the researchers, the system developed in this study points towards the possibility of developing a simple test which, combined with other information such as blood tests, transvaginal ultrasound and family history, could in the future improve the early diagnosis of ovarian cancer.
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