Glass plate reveals cancer cells
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.