Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists develop 'barcode' blood test for aggressive prostate cancer

09.10.2012
Scientists have designed a blood test that reads genetic changes like a barcode – and can pick out aggressive prostate cancers by their particular pattern of gene activity.

A team at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust found reading the pattern of genes switched on and off in blood cells could accurately detect which advanced prostate cancers had the worst survival.

And the researchers believe the blood test could eventually be used alongside the existing PSA test at diagnosis to select patients who need immediate treatment.

The test, described in The Lancet Oncology today (Tuesday 9 October), is unique because it assesses changes in the pattern of gene activity in blood cells triggered by a tumour elsewhere in the body.

Study senior author Professor Johann de Bono, leader of the prostate cancer targeted therapy team at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and honorary consultant at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Prostate cancer is a very diverse disease – some people live with it for years without symptoms but for others it can be aggressive and life-threatening – so it's vital we develop reliable tests to tell the different types apart.

"We've shown it is possible to learn more about prostate cancers by the signs they leave in the blood, allowing us to develop a test that is potentially more accurate than those available now and easier for patients than taking a biopsy. Our test reads the pattern of genetic activity like a barcode, picking up signs that a patient is likely to have a more aggressive cancer. Doctors should then be able to adjust the treatment they give accordingly."

Researchers scanned all the genes present in blood samples from 100 patients with prostate cancer at the ICR's and The Royal Marsden's joint Drug Development Unit in London and The Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre in Glasgow. They included 69 patients with advanced cancer and 31 control patients thought to have low-risk, early-stage cancer, who were being managed by active surveillance.

Using statistical modelling, they divided the patients into four groups reflecting their pattern of gene activity – the barcode. When they reviewed all the patients' progress after almost two-and-a-half years, they found patients in one group had survived for significantly less time than patients in the others. Further modelling identified nine key active genes that were shared by all patients in the group.

They confirmed the results in another 70 US patients with advanced cancer, showing that just these nine genes could be used to accurately identify those who ultimately survived for a shorter time - 9.2 months compared with 21.6 months for patients without the gene pattern. The genes included a number involved in the immune system – suggesting the immune system was suppressed in patients whose cancers were spreading around the body.

Professor Alan Ashworth, chief executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, said: "Whether particular genes are active or not is an important clue in identifying patients with a poor prognosis. This latest study shows that it is possible to read these patterns of gene activity like a barcode, allowing scientists to spot cancers that are likely to be more aggressive."

Professor Martin Gore, medical director at The Royal Marsden, said: "Personalised medicine is the future of cancer treatment. This blood test, which reads genetic changes in prostate cancer providing a prediction of how aggressive the cancer might be, is an important development, allowing us to better tailor treatment to suit each individual."

The study received funding from AstraZeneca, Prostate Cancer UK (formerly the Prostate Cancer Charity) and the Prostate Cancer Foundation, while the Drug Development Unit also receives funding from Cancer Research UK and the Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre network.

Media Contact: ICR Science Communications Manager Jane Bunce on 0207
153 5106 or 07 721 747 900
Notes to editors:
"Prognostic value of blood mRNA expression signatures in castration resistant prostate cancer: a prospective two-stage study" will publish in The Lancet Oncology on 9 October 2012.

The scientists initially plan to assess the test as part of a large-scale international trial of a new prostate cancer drug in patients with advanced cancer. They also hope to assess the test in patients with earlier-stage disease, using either the existing nine-gene pattern or using the same technique to find another set of genes.

The Institute of Cancer Research, London, is one of the world's most influential cancer research institutes.

Scientists and clinicians at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) are working every day to make a real impact on cancer patients' lives. Through its unique partnership with The Royal Marsden and 'bench-to-bedside' approach, the ICR is able to create and deliver results in a way that other institutions cannot. Together the two organisations are rated in the top four cancer centres globally.

The ICR has an outstanding record of achievement dating back more than 100 years. It provided the first convincing evidence that DNA damage is the basic cause of cancer, laying the foundation for the now universally accepted idea that cancer is a genetic disease. Today it leads the world at isolating cancer-related genes and discovering new targeted drugs for personalised cancer treatment.

As a college of the University of London, the ICR provides postgraduate higher education of international distinction. It has charitable status and relies on support from partner organisations, charities and the general public.

The ICR's mission is to make the discoveries that defeat cancer. For more information visit www.icr.ac.uk

The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust

The Royal Marsden opened its doors in 1851 as the world's first hospital dedicated to cancer diagnosis, treatment, research and education. Today, together with its academic partner, The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), it is the largest and most comprehensive cancer centre in Europe treating over 44,000 patients every year. It is a centre of excellence with an international reputation for groundbreaking research and pioneering the very latest in cancer treatments and technologies. The Royal Marsden also provides community services in the London boroughs of Sutton and Merton and in June 2010, along with the ICR, the Trust launched a new academic partnership with Mount Vernon Cancer Centre in Middlesex.

Since 2004, the hospital's charity, The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, has helped raise over £50 million to build theatres, diagnostic centres, and drug development units.

Prince William became President of The Royal Marsden in 2007, following a long royal connection with the hospital. For more information, visit www.royalmarsden.nhs.uk

Jane Bunce | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.icr.ac.uk

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The interactome of infected neural cells reveals new therapeutic targets for Zika
23.01.2017 | D'Or Institute for Research and Education

nachricht Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New technology for mass-production of complex molded composite components

23.01.2017 | Process Engineering

Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

The interactome of infected neural cells reveals new therapeutic targets for Zika

23.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>