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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, 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).

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  • (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.

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    • (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.