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New test for cancer and diabetes biomarkers

New test for cancer and diabetes biomarkers
28th December 2015

A new test could help target those who are at the highest risk of developing cancer and diabetes.

According to a team from the University of Warwick, the method could be 1000x more detailed and 100 per cent faster than those currently in use.

The researchers were looking at collagen and wanted to see whether the same methodology could be used with any protein-based sample. It is now currently being tested with cancer cells and proteins relevant to Type II diabetes.

Called 2D Mass Spectrometry (2DMS), the test provides a new tool that could help better diagnose a wide range of illnesses and diseases that can be predicted by the presence of proteins.

Led by the O'Connor Research Group in the University of Warwick's Department of Chemistry, the team found that the large protein collagen can be sliced into smaller fragments. These can then be analysed by multidimensional mass spectrometry to give more detailed information than has been previously gained.

Not only does it give more in-depth data, but is also 100 per cent faster than using current techniques to analyse the same sample.

Commenting on 2DMS and its potential[,] Professor Peter O'Connor, of the University of Warwick's department of Chemistry and leader of the O'Connor Group, explained how this could help cancer diagnosis.

He said within each cancer cell, there is around a million peptides that enable it to function. By understanding the structure and chemistry of these peptides, researchers can develop groundbreaking treatments and 2DMS will be a new tool to study them better than ever before. 

He explained that this method could save a huge amount of time because certain stages are removed as there is no need to individually isolate each fragment. This means results can be given much quicker, and treatment could start much earlier.

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