Wednesday March 20, 2019
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“DNA Barcode” To Deliver Personalised Care For Breast Cancer Patients

Launched in 2016, the varsity's Personalised Breast Cancer Programme has mapped the entire genetic code of nearly 300 women diagnosed with breast cancer, the report said

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Cancer
Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

Undergoing genetic testing for breast cancer creates a “DNA barcode” which can help transform treatment for the deadly cancer and make it more personalised to each patient, scientists say.

According to doctors at the Britain’s Cambridge University, mapping the genetic code could help them choose the right treatment as well as predict whether patients are likely to experience side effects, the BBC reported.

It can also reveal whether their cancer, the second most common cancer in women, is becoming resistant to treatment.

“Breast cancer is not one but 10 or 11 diseases that are distinct molecular entities… By sequencing the tumour we have something like a barcode which gives us the pattern of mutations in that cancer,” Carlos Caldas, Professor at the varsity, was quoted as saying.

The genome sequencing can detect whether patients have inherited mutations in BRCA1, BRCA2 genes which increases their risk of both breast and ovarian cancer. The findings can also have implications for their family.

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Representational image. Pixabay

“We can understand how the body and in particular the immune cells are responding and this enables us to deliver more precision in the medicine,” Caldas said.

“This barcode also enables us to do surveillance and identify early whether a tumour is coming back because of developing resistance to treatment. When those cells start releasing their DNA we can detect them in a blood test known as a liquid biopsy,” he noted.

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Launched in 2016, the varsity’s Personalised Breast Cancer Programme has mapped the entire genetic code of nearly 300 women diagnosed with breast cancer, the report said.

These women have a sample of their tumour and of their blood sent for sequencing, with the full results coming back within 12 weeks.

“We want to reduce the number of toxic drugs that we give to patients, and where possible treat them with targeted therapies with fewer side effects,” Alejandra Bruna, molecular biologist at the varsity, was quoted as saying. (IANS)

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New Finding! Scientists Have Developed Robotic Tool To Detect And Kill Cancer Cells in Humans

The researchers used their robotic system to study early-stage and later-stage bladder cancer cells. Previously, they had to extract the cell nuclei to examine it.

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The study, published in the journal Science Robotics, described the design in which a magnetic iron bead about 100 times smaller than the thickness of a human hair can be coaxed into any desired position within the cell, the Xinhua reported. Pixabay

Canadian scientists have developed a kind of magnetic tweezer that can precisely insert a minuscule bead robot into a live human cancer cell, pointing to a new option for diagnosing and killing cancer.

The study, published in the journal Science Robotics, described the design in which a magnetic iron bead about 100 times smaller than the thickness of a human hair can be coaxed into any desired position within the cell, the Xinhua reported.

The bead, about 700 nanometres in diameter, is placed on the microscope coverslip surrounded by six magnetic coils in different planes, and the cancer cell can swallow the bead into its membrane.

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They were able to measure how much stiffer the nucleus got when prodded repeatedly, and thus find out which cell protein or proteins might play a role in controlling this response, which could work as a new method of detecting cancer in early stage. Pixabay

Then, the researchers from University of Toronto controlled the bead’s position under a microscope, using a computer-controlled algorithm to vary the electrical current through coils and shaping the magnetic field in three dimensions.

The researchers used their robotic system to study early-stage and later-stage bladder cancer cells. Previously, they had to extract the cell nuclei to examine it.

The team measured cell nuclei in intact cells instead of breaking apart the cell membrane, showing that the nucleus is not equally stiff in all directions.

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In the later-stage cells, the stiffening response is not as strong as they are in the early stage, though both are seemingly similar, the researchers said. VOA

“It’s a bit like a football in shape. Mechanically, it’s stiffer along one axis than the other,” said Professor Sun Yu.

“We wouldn’t have known that without this new technique.”

They were able to measure how much stiffer the nucleus got when prodded repeatedly, and thus find out which cell protein or proteins might play a role in controlling this response, which could work as a new method of detecting cancer in early stage.

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In the later-stage cells, the stiffening response is not as strong as they are in the early stage, though both are seemingly similar, the researchers said.

Also, the team visualised using the tiny robots to either starve a tumour by blocking its blood vessels, or destroy it directly through mechanical ablation, although those applications are still a long way from clinical uses. (IANS)