Tuesday November 20, 2018

A tool which can predict cancer

Researchers develop a tool to predict cancer in men

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Researchers developed a tool which can predict cancer in men. Pixabay
Researchers developed a tool which can predict cancer in men. Pixabay
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  • A tool has been developed for predicting the onset of prostate cancer in men.
  • Score from a PSA test is very versatile and can be applied to many age related diseases.
  • This study was published in journal BMJ.

A genetic prognostic tool has been developed by a team of researchers that may help in predicting the age of onset of prostate cancer in men.

Polygenic hazard score is intended to inform men whether to undergo Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test. The score can be calculated at any time since an individual’s genotype does not change.

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How the score works

The score involves survival analysis to estimate the effect of individual genomes for small variations, called single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), on age at diagnosis of aggressive prostate cancer.

This is especially critical for men at risk of developing prostate cancer at a very young age before standard guidelines recommend consideration of screening.

Prostrate cancer is one of the most common in men. Pixabay
Prostate cancer is one of the most common in men. Pixabay

“The polygenic hazard score is very versatile and can be applied to many age-related diseases,” said Chun Chieh Fan, from the University of California – San Diego.

Also read: Pregnancy seems Safe for Breast Cancer Survivors: Study

“In this case, the polygenic hazard score of prostate cancer captures the age variations of aggressive prostate cancer.”

The score has already been proven to be very useful in predicting the age of onset for Alzheimer’s disease, the researchers said.

Other than prostate cancer, lung cancer is most common amongst men. Pixabay
Other than prostate cancer, lung cancer is most common amongst men. Pixabay

How it was done

When men with a high polygenic hazard score were compared to those with average polygenic hazard score, their risk of aggressive prostate cancer was at least 2.9 times greater, the researchers said, adding that this kind of genetic risk stratification is a step toward individualised medicine.

Further, PSA tests are much more predictive of aggressive prostate cancer in men with high polygenic hazard score than in those with low polygenic hazard score. This suggests that the score can help physicians determine whether to order a PSA test for a given patient.

The study was published in journal BMJ. (IANS)

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High Exposure to Radio Frequency Radiation Increase Risk of Cancer

Interestingly, the team found that rats exposed to whole body RFR lived longer than rats unexposed to any radiation

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High exposure to radio frequency radiation linked to cancer. Pixabay

Exposure to high levels of radio frequency radiation (RFR) — used in 2G and 3G cell phones — can increase the risk of cancer tumours in the heart, brain and adrenal gland, researchers have warned.

The study, led by the US National Institutes of Health’s National Toxicology Programme (NTP), looked at the effects of exposing rodents to extremely high levels of radiofrequency throughout the entire body.

While high levels of RFR caused cancerous tumours in the heart (found very rarely in humans), brain and adrenal gland, of male rats, the findings on female rats were ambiguous.

“The exposures used in the studies cannot be compared directly to the exposure that humans experience when using a cell phone. In our studies, rats and mice received radio frequency radiation across their whole bodies,” John Bucher, researcher from the NTP, said in a statement.

“By contrast, people are mostly exposed in specific local tissues close to where they hold the phone,” Bucher added.

For the study, the team housed the animals in chambers specifically designed for the study.

Exposure to RFR began in the womb for rats and at 5 to 6 weeks old for mice, and continued for up to two years, or most of their natural lifetime.

Breast Cancer
Cancer ribbon. Pixabay

However, the RFR exposure was intermittent — 10 minutes on and 10 minutes off — totalling about nine hours each day.

In addition, the RFR levels ranged from 1.5-6 watts per kilogram in rats, and 2.5-10 watts per kilogram in mice.

“We believe that the link between radio frequency radiation and tumours in male rats is real,” Bucher noted.

Interestingly, the team found that rats exposed to whole body RFR lived longer than rats unexposed to any radiation.

“This may be explained by an observed decrease in chronic kidney problems that are often the cause of death in older rats,” the researchers noted.

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According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), while animal studies contribute to discussions on the topic, “this study was not designed to test the safety of cell phone use in humans, so we cannot draw conclusions about the risks of cell phone use from it.”

Since the exposure levels and durations in the studies were greater than what people experience, “we agree that these findings should not be applied to human cell phone usage”, the FDA said on Thursday. (IANS)