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posted by LaminatorX on Wednesday February 26 2014, @09:31PM   Printer-friendly
from the Negative-never-felt-so-good dept.

AnonTechie writes:

"A paper strip can sample urine for signs of tumors in the body. The cancer-detecting strip could one day make it simpler and more affordable to detect some cancers at an early stage. Unlike communicable infections like HIV and tuberculosis, signals from tumor proteins are difficult to detect. To get around that problem, the researchers created nano-scale biomarkers that can be injected into the bloodstream. Each marker is designed to interact with specific proteins that are produced by cancer cells. When the two meet, the proteins snip off tiny fragments of the marker. Those fragments eventually find their way into the urine. The test works like a pregnancy test; a person urinates on a paper strip coated with antibodies that can detect the marker fragments. If the fragments are present, the paper displays a line indicating the presence of cancer tissue in the body. Altogether, the process takes about an hour."

[ED Note: Link is to an abstract. PDF with more detailed info here.]

 
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  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by qwade on Wednesday February 26 2014, @09:51PM

    by qwade (1006) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @09:51PM (#7579)

    Reminds me about a story [go.com] I read a few weeks back. Guy jokingly takes a pregnancy test, posts the positive result and gets a comment that the hormone it looks for also could indicate testicular cancer. Looks like it could be a more advanced and reliable form of this kind of test.

  • (Score: 1) by maxim on Wednesday February 26 2014, @10:18PM

    by maxim (2543) <maximlevitsky@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 26 2014, @10:18PM (#7590)

    That post gave me cancer
    (Batman meme)

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by sck on Wednesday February 26 2014, @10:44PM

    by sck (3175) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @10:44PM (#7600)
    From the abstract:

    To get around that problem, the researchers created nano-scale biomarkers that can be injected into the bloodstream.

    So, this isn't a simple as a pregnancy test, not anywhere near as cheap. I would also wonder how hard it will be to keep up with the new tumor variations being found as we get further into understanding the genetics, OK, the genetic failures, of cancer. But it is a great advance and if it pans out might point to similar approaches to testing for other conditions.

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by duvel on Wednesday February 26 2014, @10:46PM

    by duvel (1496) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @10:46PM (#7602)

    If you read the article (yeah I know, you're not supposed to do that), it's quite clear that it's not just a urine sample. What happens is that 'nano-scale biomarkers' (whatever those may be) are injected in your blood stream. Those marker react with any cancer cells in your body (if any), and the results of that reaction are measurable in urine. As a test, that coincides with the conventional wisdom that by the time the cancer is measurable in your urine (or your blood), it has already spread.

    The interesting question of course would be what the price of such a test would be, what it's success/failure rate are, and eventually, if this can prevent or early-detect enough cancers to be cost effective. As an example, doctors are now getting more and more convinced that regular breast X-rays to find breast cancer are becoming useless, mostly because most women are now alert enough to find any lumps before they become life threatening (and because breast cancer death rates have been falling sharply due to better treatments).

    --
    This Sig is under surveilance by the NSA
    • (Score: 4, Informative) by c0lo on Wednesday February 26 2014, @10:59PM

      by c0lo (156) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @10:59PM (#7610) Journal

      The interesting question of course would be what the price of such a test would be

      No info on the injectable part, but some info on the companion test in the linked PDF:

      Companion Diagnostic Cost Analyses.
      Approximate costs for materials and labor costs to produce LFAs were based on estimates from a technical document by LFA materials' manufacturer Bangs Laboratories (5). The majority of costs are packaging and assembly, and the major variable costs are due to the specific antibodies used and region of manufacture, resulting in a raw material cost of roughly $0.60 and an assembled product cost of less than $2.

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
      • (Score: 1) by Yow on Wednesday February 26 2014, @11:29PM

        by Yow (1637) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @11:29PM (#7632)

        Money is always the thing. Healthcare as business is always in the mix. Can't just evaluate the science anymore...

    • (Score: 1) by migz on Wednesday February 26 2014, @11:05PM

      by migz (1807) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @11:05PM (#7614)

      It's not the cancer cells that are measured in the urine, just the byproducts of the reagent with the cancer cells.

      The article states the major costs are packaging and assembly so that part is schweet!

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:04AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:04AM (#7764)
        That just means they can gouge you for even more. The actual cost of this screening, as it requires an injection, is likely to be around $1000 or more.
  • (Score: 1) by rob_bruce on Wednesday February 26 2014, @10:48PM

    by rob_bruce (2536) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @10:48PM (#7604)

    If this does become a reliable method of cancer detection, it seems very uninvasive; the extent of which is a patient gets an IV for the biomarkers to enter their bloodstream.

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by bd on Wednesday February 26 2014, @11:02PM

      by bd (2773) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @11:02PM (#7612)

      Doesn't this test just take bits and pieces from tumor markers already present in the bloodstream and pass them into your urine?

      So instead of taking a sample of your blood and testing that for tumor markers, they inject something into your bloodstream and then test your urine.
      I fail to see how this is actually less invasive than what is routinely done today?!

      • (Score: 2, Informative) by rob_bruce on Wednesday February 26 2014, @11:17PM

        by rob_bruce (2536) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @11:17PM (#7623)

        I'm thinking in terms of colorectal cancer detection which usually requires a colonoscopy. Not all cancer detection tests are simply blood tests, unfortunately.
         

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 26 2014, @11:25PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 26 2014, @11:25PM (#7628)

    It is good to see work on another cheap cancer test. It will be great if low income people can just walk into a Walgreens, and get lots of cheap tests, and avoid seeing an expensive doctor.

    • (Score: 1) by AnythingGoes on Wednesday February 26 2014, @11:53PM

      by AnythingGoes (3345) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @11:53PM (#7644)

      If you do a full body scan, you will find many issues on anyone... that does not mean that there are real issues, just that some parts of everyone's body are not exactly at the same as the average of the population..

      If there are lots of cheap tests for everything, you are going to get hypochondriacs coming out of the closet everywhere :(

      Better start educating people to only take those tests when there are other indications happening, else your GP will be really annoyed with you and may ignore you next time when there really is an issue.

  • (Score: 1) by ementaler on Thursday February 27 2014, @12:09AM

    by ementaler (1796) on Thursday February 27 2014, @12:09AM (#7656)

    Hope they perfect it and make it cheap. Wouldn't want cure for baldness to surpass this.