FACTT Blood Test May
Detect Cancer AIDS and Alzheimer’s Disease Early – Breakthrough
Technology 100,000 Times More Sensitive than Current Tests
Mark Green PhD
A new breakthrough technology may allow for early detection of some
cancers, Alzheimer ’s disease, HIV and other deadly conditions. The
sensitivity of the test is 100,000 times higher than that of some other
blood tests. Another test, ELISA (enzyme-linked immunoadsorbent assay),
is used as a diagnostic test to determine exposure to infectious agents,
such as HIV, by identifying antibodies present in a blood sample.
The New FACTT (Florescent Amplification Catalyzed by T7-polymerase) test
is much more sensitive. One of the researchers, Hongtao Zhang, PhD,
said "The current ELISA tests can only detect proteins when they are in
high abundance. But the problem is that many of the functional proteins
– those that have a role in determining your health – exist in very low
amounts until diseases are apparent and cannot be detected or measured
at early stages of medical pathology. It was important to develop a
technique that can detect these rare molecules to detect abnormalities
at an early stage."
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
consider this a paradigm-shift in testing. The FACTT technology uses a
different enzyme amplification system so that detection can be made from
even a few protein molecules.
The good part is that the technology is adaptable for any protein and
can be performed in an automated format. In fact the system will likely
be robotized to even screen for rare disease causing proteins using tiny
amounts of blood. Senior author Mark I. Greene MD, PhD says "It is even
possible that one could screen for multiple diseases at the same time
and produce a precise accounting of whether disease-causing molecules
are present at an early time when disease can be readily treated."
Since early treatment is better, this new test may save lives in the
future. In the lab, researchers implanted Her2/neu molecules into
mice. These molecules become over expressed in breast cancer patients.
They found that the current ELISA test was unable to detect Her2/neu in
the mouse blood until the tumors became inoperable in size. The FACTT
technology was able to detect the molecules within a couple days of
implantation, even before the tumors were barely visible.
It was Greene’s team that established many of the principles of targeted
therapy for Her2/neu tumors and the prototype antibodies that led to the
development of Herceptin. Trastuzumab (brand name Herceptin) was
approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1998 for
treating women with advanced (metastatic) breast cancer. Since then it
has also been used for early stage breast cancer as well.
The FACTT test will likely replace the complicated IHC (immunohistochemistry)
and FISH (fluorescence in situ hybridization) for breast cancer.
According to the researchers “A more sensitive assay could more
accurately allow treatment of humans with breast cancer and allow
treatment more quickly if the tumor reoccurs.”
Some doctors worry that the test being too sensitive. It may cause
patients to worry even though their condition may cure itself. For
example, some cancers are so small that the immune system can actually
destroy and remove them automatically without you knowing it.
On ABC World News Tonight, Dr. Eric Winer told Ned Potter "What we don't
want to do is have a test that shows an abnormality, that detects the
presence of a cancer cell, and will never matter to that woman." Winer
is director of the breast oncology center at the Dana-Farber Cancer
Institute in Boston. "We have to be very careful that these tests are
going to give us accurate information, and that they're not going to
over diagnose and lead to over treatment and perhaps unnecessary
treatment," Winer added.
The test will likely be available in two or three years for routine
use. It will likely cost less than current tests and return results
quicker. FACTT will catch Her2/neu in 9 out of 10 women where the older
ELISA test may be able to only detect the molecule in 2 on 10 samples.
The findings are published in the online version of Nature Medicine.
By Dan Wilson
Books on Cancer
Keywords and misspellings: brest fact prostrate hormane
treetments brane braine canser cancar
abc world news tonigh prosetate ransel