Researchers from Tymora Analytical Operations, a firm affiliated with Purdue University in the US, have developed a new method to investigate the use of simple blood and urine tests for the detection of various early-stage cancers.
The researchers have previously demonstrated the ability of the blood test to identify and monitor breast cancer, while the urine test has been designed for bladder cancer.
It is expected that the new method could aid in early diagnosis of various other cancers and early signs of relapses.
Purdue University biochemistry professor and Tymora chief scientific officer Andy Tao discovered the new approach to identify the increased protein levels in blood plasma, indicating the presence of cancer.
Tao used centrifuges to detect the phosphoproteins by separating plasma from red blood cells, followed by high-speed and ultra-high-speed centrifuges to further segregate microvesicles and exosomes.
The phosphorylated proteins were then measured using mass spectrometry.
Tymora Analytical Operations chief technology officer Anton Iliuk said: “We showed we can identify thousands of these phosphorylated proteins in plasma, something that’s never been done before.
“Scientists have tried over the years to find these proteins, but there’s such a small amount in the blood and urine and they usually are destroyed before you can do anything with them.”
In addition to monitoring treatment efficacy, the less invasive and inexpensive blood or urine test is intended to allow personalised diagnosis for individual patients.
Iliuk added: “Right now, we don’t have the biomarkers yet for each individual cancer, but we have an approach to find these cancers.”