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 'Icebreaker' protein opens genome for t cell development, Penn researchers find
21.02.2018 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

nachricht Similarities found in cancer initiation in kidney, liver, stomach, pancreas
21.02.2018 | Washington University 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: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers invent tiny, light-powered wires to modulate brain's electrical signals

21.02.2018 | Life Sciences

The “Holy Grail” of peptide chemistry: Making peptide active agents available orally

21.02.2018 | Life Sciences

Atomic structure of ultrasound material not what anyone expected

21.02.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>