Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Early cancer screening

07.05.2003


A EUREKA funded project is making real progress in the fight against cancer of the large intestine. One of the three most common cancer types in western countries, cancer of the large intestine is also one of the hardest to diagnose. In 50 per cent of cases it is detected too late to be successfully treated with surgery. But EUREKA project GENEFEC has developed a new test which could save thousands of lives by detecting early signs of the disease.

The new DNA-based test, developed by Norwegian company Nordiag and Berlin-based biotechnology firm Invitek GmbH, aims to identify patients with curable pre-cancerous cells in the colon, rectum and pancreas.

“There are a million new cases of colorectal cancer each year, causing around 450,000 deaths,” says Dr Dagfinn Ogreid of the Norsk Center for Gastro-Intestinal Cancerdiagnostikk. “If our test saves just 20% of these patients - and it could be as high as 50% - that’s a lot of lives saved.”



Doctors working in this area have relied upon invasive, time-consuming and painful endoscopic techniques to screen patients. The non-invasive alternative is faecal blood tests, but these tests are not traditionally cancer-specific and have successful detection rates as low as two per cent. Up to 98 per cent of patients are shown to have completely different conditions.

But GENEFEC’s Norwegian and German partners have used a gene which is known to spontaneously mutate in a cell of the gut lining up to five years before the cell becomes malignant, to form the basis of a new and improved faecal test. Nordiag’s Dr Oegreid has developed a method of detecting this mutation using the polymerase chain reaction technique to magnify fragments of DNA shed in the patient’s faeces.

The new test, which takes less than two hours, has attracted interest around the world and is now used by Norway’s public health service. “We have plans to open a laboratory in Berlin with our German partners,” says Dr Ogreid. “This will be an opportunity not only to get into the diagnostic market, but also to work towards our second goal: the robotisation of the tests, which will make the technique even quicker and more reliable.”

The test has enormous market potential. With a population of 4.5 million, Norway has about 4,000 new cases of colorectal cancer every year. There is a market for 20,000 tests a year in Norway alone if doctors screen everyone with a family history of the disease. This figure could rise to over 600,000 if everyone over 40 years old – the highest risk category – is screened. And its impact will of course be widened greatly if it is made available across Europe.

The two partners initially began working on similar technology independently. But when Nordiag scientists became aware that the German group was developing a similar method, it became clear that they could reach their goal faster by pooling their expertise. Dr Oegreid says EUREKA support has been vital to getting the project off the ground. “EUREKA opened doors that allowed us to obtain private sponsorship from insurance companies to fund our research.”

Nicola Vatthauer | alfa
Further information:
http://www.eureka.be/genefec

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht New study points the way to therapy for rare cancer that targets the young
22.11.2017 | Rockefeller University

nachricht Penn study identifies new malaria parasites in wild bonobos
21.11.2017 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Desert ants cannot be fooled

23.11.2017 | Life Sciences

By saving cost and energy, the lighting revolution may increase light pollution

23.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

Retreating permafrost coasts threaten the fragile Arctic environment

23.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>