Sunday April 21, 2019

A simple Blood Test that can predict how Ovarian Cancer Patients respond to Chemotherapy Treatment

The level of tumour DNA in the blood was found to reflect the amount of cancer seen on scans carried out before chemotherapy

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A syringe of blood for test. Pixabay

London, December 21, 2016: Scientists have developed a simple blood test that can predict how ovarian cancer patients are likely to respond to chemotherapy treatment.

In a study of 40 patients with high grade serous ovarian cancer, the researchers from the University of Cambridge, monitored tumour DNA that could be detected in a blood sample taken before each chemotherapy treatment.

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By measuring the levels of the mutated cancer gene TP53, researchers found those who responded well to treatments had a rapid fall in the levels of this circulating DNA.

The researchers tested levels of this circulating tumour DNA in patients before and after treatment.

The results showed that it took longer for the disease to progress in patients whose tumour DNA count in the blood fell by more than a half after one cycle of chemotherapy, compared with patients whose DNA count did not drop.

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“There’s a need for a test to find out quickly whether ovarian cancer patients are benefiting from chemotherapy. These are early results, but if bigger trials are successful, this test looking at the tumour DNA circulating in the blood could be a cheap, quick and easy way to get this information,” said James Brenton from the University of Cambridge.

Further, the level of tumour DNA in the blood was found to reflect the amount of cancer seen on scans carried out before chemotherapy.

This test may be particularly useful for patients with high grade serous ovarian cancer because the mutated cancer gene TP53 is found in more than 99 per cent of patients with this form of the disease, the researchers said.

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“This could be a good way to test new types of drugs that target cancer cells specifically and spare patients the side effects from treatments if they are not working,” Brenton noted, in the study published in the journal PLOS Medicine. (IANS)

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Blood Test Can Help Diagnose Pre-eclampsia, Says Study

There was no change in the likelihood of complications for the baby, the age at which babies were delivered prematurely or whether they were admitted to a neonatal unit

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Image source- sites.bu.edu

A simple blood test can help diagnose a common but potentially fatal pregnancy complication — pre-eclampsia, finds a study published in The Lancet journal.

During the study, by measuring the concentration of placental growth factor (PlGF) in a woman’s blood, doctors were able to diagnose pre-eclampsia two days sooner on average.

“We knew monitoring PlGF was an accurate way to help detect the condition but were unsure whether making this tool available to clinicians would lead to better care for women. Now we know that it does,” said lead author Lucy Chappell from King’s College London.

Pre-eclampsia, a condition in pregnancy characterised by high blood pressure, sometimes with fluid retention and proteinuria, can cause damage to vital organs, fits and can be fatal for the woman and baby, if left untreated. Globally, 100 women die due to pre-eclampsia every day.

A health service worker takes a blood sample for a malaria test in Dajabon, Dominican Republic, on the border with Haiti, Oct. 6, 2009. A test that doesn't require a needle or blood has won the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation
A health service worker takes a blood sample for a malaria test in Dajabon, Dominican Republic, on the border with Haiti, Oct. 6, 2009. VOA

“For the last hundred years, we have diagnosed pre-eclampsia by measuring blood pressure and checking for protein in a woman’s urine. These are relatively imprecise and often quite subjective,” Chappell noted.

For the study, the research team studied 1,035 women with suspected pre-eclampsia from 11 maternity units across the UK. They were randomly assigned to two groups — one had their PlGF test results made available to their clinical team, the other did not.

Also Read- AI Method Can Help Treat Brain Tumours: Study

The PlGF testing was shown to reduce the average time to diagnose pre-eclampsia from four to two days and serious complications before birth (such as eclampsia, stroke, and maternal death) to four per cent from five per cent.

There was no change in the likelihood of complications for the baby, the age at which babies were delivered prematurely or whether they were admitted to a neonatal unit, the researchers said. (IANS)