Cancer & diabetes leave fingerprints in blood4th September 2008
Diseases such as cancer and diabetes leave "fingerprints" in the serum and blood plasma of patients and these may provide a valuable and non-invasive diagnostic tool in time to come, according to a Chinese study.
In an article published in the latest issue of Cell Research, the Chinese researchers described how they found such altered molecular biomarkers, called microRNAs, to be stable in the serum and blood of people who were ill.
"This is a revolutionary finding, this is the first time we have been able to demonstrate that microRNA is stable in serum," Zhang Chen-yu at the Jiangsu Diabetes Centre in China's eastern province of Jiangsu told Reuters by telephone.
The scientists analysed the blood of both healthy people and patients with lung cancer, colorectal cancer and diabetes, and found that those who were ill had altered biomarkers that were vastly different from the healthy participants.
Zhang said patients of one disease would have biomarkers that were markedly different from patients of another disease - and in theory, doctors can tell what disease is afflicting a person by just analysing the blood.
"We found different (classes of) biomarkers for lung cancer, colorectal cancer and diabetes, these biomarkers can reflect almost all pathological conditions," Zhang said.
This means diagnosis can be made without current invasive methods, which include removing tissue samples.
Looking ahead, Zhang said the team hoped to push for such biomarker screenings to be done in local clinics to alleviate the pressure on overcrowded government hospitals.
Reporting by Tan Ee Lyn; Editing by Bill Tarrant
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Title: Cancer & diabetes leave fingerprints in blood
Author: Martine Hamilton
Article Id: 8169
Date Added: 4th Sep 2008