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Cervical Cancer: Is a New Detection Method Coming?

Cervical Cancer: Is a New Detection Method Coming?

Plasma thermogram could serve as an effective new indicator for detecting cervical cancer, including assessing the stage of the cancer, according to new research findings.

Researchers, led by Nichola Garbett, PhD, at the University of Louisville, took blood plasma from 67 women attending the Division of Gynecologic Oncology clinic and 4 healthy volunteers and conducted differential scanning calorimetry analysis that shows a unique signature for each person’s health status and can serve as a biomarker.

To generate a plasma thermogram, a patient’s blood plasma sample is “melted,” which produces a unique signature that represents the major proteins in the blood plasma, the researchers explained.

The results, they said, was finding a less intrusive test than the Pap smear that may eventually be used in the clinical setting as a compliment to detect cervical cancer.

"Additionally, other research has shown that we are able to demonstrate if the current treatment is effective so that clinicians will be able to better tailor care for each patient,” said Garbett in a press release.

By comparing blood samples of patients who are being screened or treated over time, the researchers say they can use the thermograms to monitor patients through treatment and to make adjustments as needed. The thermograms also show different patterns in people with different demographics as well as in people with different diseases.

The researchers stressed, however, that more clinical testing is needed but noted that plasma thermogram testing has already been applied to identify multiple other cancers, including melanoma, lung, ovarian, endometrial, and uterine, and other diseases, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and Lyme disease.

Pertinent Points:
- Less invasive than a Pap test, plasma thermogram could serve as an effective new indicator for detecting cervical cancer, including assessing the cancer’s stage.
- Plasma thermograms could be used to monitor patients through treatment and to make adjustments as needed.

References

Garbett NC, Merchant ML, Helm CM, et al. Detection of cervical cancer biomarker patterns in blood plasma and urine by differential scanning calorimetry and mass spectrometry. PLoS One. January 8, 2014. Available here.

 
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