Glass plate re­veals can­cer cells

Science Illustrated - - CANCER -

Sci­en­tists from the Amer­i­can Univer­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia have just dis­cov­ered that can­cer cells in the pan­creas lib­er­ate a very spe­cial mix of pro­teins into the blood. They took blood sam­ples from about 700 peo­ple – some healthy and some with pan­creas can­cer – and tested for the pres­ence of two pro­teins, throm­bospondin-2 and CA19-9. The test was pos­i­tive in 87 % of the can­cer pa­tients, but very rarely so in healthy peo­ple.

Tests such as this one are ex­pen­sive at this point in time, but in the fu­ture, they could form part of rou­tine checks. A ground­break­ing tech­nol­ogy makes it pos­si­ble to quickly iden­tify not just two, but hun­dreds of pro­teins at a time. The blood sam­ple is placed on a glass plate di­vided into small fields. Each field con­tains a spe­cific type of an­ti­bod­ies, which can only bind one type of pro­tein. If the pro­tein is in­cluded in the sam­ple, the par­tic­u­lar field will light up.

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