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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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Saliva Test can Detect Oropharyngeal Cancer

Saliva test can detect mouth, throat cancer early

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Saliva test shows promise for earlier and easier detection of mouth and throat cancer. Pixabay

A non-invasive saliva test can detect human papilloma virus-16 — the strain associated with oropharyngeal cancer (OPC) — showing promise for earlier and easier detection of mouth and throat cancer, report researchers.

The novel technique detected OPC in whole saliva in 40 per cent of patients tested and 80 per cent of confirmed OPC patients.

OPC has an approximate incidence of 115,000 cases per year worldwide and is one of the fastest-rising cancers owing to increasing HPV-related incidence, especially in younger patients.

“It is paramount that surveillance methods are developed to improve early detection and outcomes,” said co-lead investigator Tony Jun Huang from Duke University in the US.

Cancers that occur in the back of the mouth and upper throat are often not diagnosed until they become advanced, partly because their location makes them difficult to see during routine clinical exams.

saliva test cancer
Cancers that occur in the back of the mouth and upper throat are often not diagnosed until they become advanced. Pixabay

“The successful detection of HPV from salivary exosomes isolated by our acoustofluidic platform offers distinct advantages, including early detection, risk assessment and screening,” added Dr Huang in a paper published in The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics.

This technique may also help physicians predict which patients will respond well to radiation therapy or achieve longer progression-free survival.

In the study, investigators analyzed saliva samples from 10 patients diagnosed with HPV-OPC using traditional methods.

They found that the technique identified the tumour biomarker in 80 per cent of the cases when coupled with the traditional detection method called droplet digital PCR.

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“The saliva exosome liquid biopsy is an effective early detection and risk assessment approach for OPC,” said co-lead investigator David TW Wong from University of California-Los Angeles.

According to the researchers, this technology can also be used to analyze other biofluids such as blood, urine and plasma. (IANS)