LigAmp highly sensitive
Scientists have designed a new molecular tool, dubbed "LigAmp," to pinpoint DNA mutations among thousands of cells, the equivalent of searching for a single typo in an entire library of books. Preliminary studies in a small number of cell lines and body fluids show the ultra-sensitive test may help detect microscopic cancer and HIV drug resistance.
"Other molecular tests make it very difficult to locate a mutation in a particular cell surrounded by thousands of other cells that dont have the mutation," says James Eshleman, M.D., Ph.D., who led the study with colleagues from the Johns Hopkins Department of Pathology and Kimmel Cancer Center. "LigAmp essentially filters background noise caused by normal cells and reveals specific mutations."
The researchers say that sensitive tests to locate mutations could identify cancer in patients at high-risk for the disease. Such tests could even help detect a recurrence of cancer by monitoring whether the number of mutations rises above a predetermined threshold value.
Vanessa Wasta | EurekAlert!
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