Cancer is one of the most fearful and crippling health threats around the world. A group of researchers from Purdue University have identified a series of proteins in blood plasma that can help in the early detection of cancer. The new findings show that when this series of proteins are found to be elevated it may signify that the patient has cancer. Researchers explain that the addition of a phosphate group to a protein can lead to cancer cell formation. Therefore, the phosphorylated proteins also known as phosphoproteins have been seen as the prime candidates for cancer biomarkers.
“This is definitely a breakthrough, showing the feasibility of using phosphoproteins in blood for detecting and monitoring diseases,” said W. Andy Tao, Professor at the Purdue University in Indiana, US. For the study, the team found nearly 2,400 phosphoproteins in a blood sample and identified 144 that were significantly elevated in cancer patients. The researchers then compared 1-milliliter blood samples from 30 breast cancer patients with six healthy controls.
“The samples we used were five years old, and we were still able to identify phosphoproteins, suggesting this is a viable method for identifying disease biomarkers. There is currently almost no way to monitor patients after treatment. Doctors have to wait until cancer comes back,” Tao said. The study is based on an analysis of microvesicles and exosomes in blood plasma and was conducted using samples from breast cancer patients.
According to the World Cancer Research Fund International, lung cancer is the most common type of cancer globally. The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and these significant results of can help in providing news ways to diagnose cancer early without having to rely on time-consuming and critical surgical procedures like biopsies.