Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Possible Lung Cancer Molecular Screening Test

Article in the Chicago Tribune -- Lung cancer screening test called exciting: Boston University team shows it is possible to detect precancerous changes in normal tissue, by Judy Peres.  Such an early detection test could have implications for medical-monitoring claims, if beneficial treatment could be offered based on the test.  Here's an excerpt from the article:

Scientists may be close to being able to predict who will develop lung cancer, a development that could prevent tens of thousands of deaths a year in the U.S.

Using a molecular test called a microarray, a research team from Boston University has come up with an 80-gene "signature" that can identify lung cancer in smokers at a very early stage. More important, the team showed that it is possible to detect precancerous changes in normal tissue.

"It's like a molecular Pap smear," said Dr. Avrum Spira, who led the investigation.

The Pap test, which can detect abnormal cells in cervical tissue, is credited with greatly reducing deaths from cervical cancer. But instead of examining whole cells, as the Pap does, microarrays examine every gene encoded in the cell's DNA.


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