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New barcoding technique may predict prostate cancer severity
A new technique that could predict the severity of prostate cancer may be available within five years.
October 10th, 2012
12:45 PM ET

New barcoding technique may predict prostate cancer severity

A newly-developed gene barcoding technique may predict how severe a man’s prostate cancer is likely to be, according to new research from the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London.

The findings are a "very important" development towards achieving a cure, says Johann de Bono, lead author of the study published this week in the British medical journal The Lancet.

The blood tests can select aggressive prostate cancers by their specific patterns of gene activity. By reading the pattern of genes switched on and off in blood cells, researchers can accurately identify which cancers had the worst survival rates. In response to this, doctors can adjust treatment accordingly.

De Bono believes the blood test is a substantial advancement from current biopsy techniques.

"Although a biopsy can provide important diagnostic and prognostic information, it is invasive, carries potential complications and can be difficult to obtain," he says.

Furthermore, once treatment has commenced, further biopsies to monitor the cancer are not possible. In comparison, the blood test "would be much easier for patients, potentially more accurate and allows their cancer to be assessed throughout treatment," according to De Bono.

The blood tests also provide information a biopsy cannot, indicating how other patient factors, such as immune response, can impact survival.

The studies are limited - researchers only collected data from 100 people. De Bono states that the findings remain "preliminary" and "the next step is to evaluate this biomarker panel in a larger population of patients."

Depending on the outcome of these tests, the new barcoding screening technique could be available within the next five years.

Launching a new war on cancer

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Filed under: Cancer • Conditions • Genetics

soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Richard Martin

    This would be a very efficient technique even if accurate results are obtained. The bar code has never been earlier taken as an application for use in the catch and cure process.

    Hifu.ca Provide Latest Treatment on Prostate Cancer

    October 12, 2012 at 01:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Kira

    You seem somewhat ablrmoanly focused on Breast cancer and, rather than answer your specific questions, I am going to suggest you write down everything you want to know and then visit your doctor and ask him/her.Also, I would suggest checking the phone book and see if there is a local Breast Cancer Action group in your area. Call them up and have a chat with them and get some good information. It sounds like all you have at the moment is fear and confusion.Get the real answers from the real experts; not here. Your questions are too important.

    November 14, 2012 at 13:43 | Report abuse | Reply

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.