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Scientists who conducted a clinical trial in China, from Hubei Medical University, its Oncology Institute and the Chinese Academy of Science, utilizing AMDL, Inc.'s , Tustin, Ca, proprietary DR-70 immunoassay kit determined it is capable of detecting 13 different cancers with a high degree of specificity and sensitivity. These included cancers of the lung, breast, stomach, rectum, colon, liver, ovary, esophagus, uterus, thyroid, malignant lymphoma, pancreas and trophoblast. The results also suggest that this assay may be useful for cancer screening in, for example, the annual physical check-up. The scientists report the results in the new edition of the peer-reviewed Journal of Immunoassay.
Source: AMDL, Inc.
Speaking at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. Researchers, Dr. David Sidransky and Dr. Michael F. Spafford from Johns Hopkins University report that a test of cells from patients' saliva can detect squamous cell cancers of the head and neck. The test identifies chromosomal changes called clonal markers that occur frequently in cancer cells, according to a statement issued by the university.
The study, led by James E. Haddow, MD, of the Foundation for Blood Research in Scarborough, Maine, was funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, shows that effective maternal blood screening for Down syndrome is possible before the 14th week of pregnancy--earlier than previous screening regimens have permitted. The screening technique makes use of two markers for Down syndrome that tend to appear in abnormal amounts in the blood of women carrying fetuses with Down syndrome.
Source: New England Journal of Medicine, April 2, 1998
Using an assay that measures isoprostane levels in urine, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center have found a way to gauge oxidative damage caused by free radicals in the human body.
Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (1998;95:3449-3454)
Genometrix, The Woodlands, Tx, has been awarded a multi-million dollar grant by the National Cancer Institute to develop integrated microarray-based systems for cancer research and ultimately the diagnosis of cancer and population-based cancer risk assessment. The project involves close collaboration with Baylor College of Medicine and is headed by Dr. Michael Hogan, Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics at Baylor College of Medicine and Chief Scientific Advisor to Genometrix. The Program Project also includes collaborations with experts in molecular modeling and physical theory (Dr. Monte Pettitt, Professor of Chemistry, The University of Houston); cancer diagnosis and treatment (Dr. Li Mao and W.K. Hong, Department of Thoracic Surgery, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center) and cancer screening technology (Dr. Jim Mulshine, Biomarkers and Prevention Laboratory, The National Cancer Institute).
It is expected that this project will lead to a robotic workstation and a family of manufacturing technologies which will support DNA microarray-based testing on a scale similar to that which is now attainable with ELISA and other more traditional methods.
Source: Genometrix, Inc.
A new test devised at Stanford University Medical Center may allow rapid and reliable diagnosis of infections in newborns. This could reduce hospitalizations and antibiotic usage for uninfected babies, while saving the lives of babies whose infections might otherwise go undetected. Newborns can die within six hours if they are infected, but they don't have the usual signs of infection. The test measures a protein, called CD11b which rapidly appears on the outside of neutrophils, as part of the immune system's response to infection. In test tube experiments, the amount of CD11b on the cell can increase within five minutes after exposure to bacteria. The test uses a flow cytometer to measure the amount of CD11b protein on the outside of each cell.
Source: Journal of Pediatrics, March 1998.
An international team of researchers, headed by David Alland at Montefiore Medical Center in New York, has developed a quick and easy test for drug-resistant tuberculosis. The test uses "molecular beacons" which are molecules of the nucleic acids that make up DNA. Their beacons can home in on the mutation. When a fluorescent molecule is attached, the mutated area literally lights up. In three-hour tests on 75 different cultures of tuberculosis bacilli, the beacons correctly identified all the mutated, drug-resistant versions and all those that responded to conventional drugs.
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