Researcher Looks at Ways to Detect Cancer in Urine Samples

April 3, 2009,

Dr. Yinfa Ma has developed a method for pre-cancer screening that uses urine samples for detection. Ma hopes to be able to predict types of cancer as well as severity.

" is the second-highest cause of death among all diseases," says Ma, a Curators’ Teaching Professor of chemistry at Missouri University of Science and Technology. "Early diagnosis of cancer is crucial, but not many people want to go to the hospital to undergo costly, screening."

The research builds on existing knowledge of pteridines, compounds that help regulate the of cells. Ma found that six pteridine derivatives can be detected in samples, and that levels of some pteridines increase significantly if there is a inside the body.

Most importantly, Ma has discovered that one molecule, called oncopterin, exists in the urine of cancer patients but not in healthy human samples.

Ma's prototype instrument, appropriately called a P-scan, is used to screen urine for oncopterine and six other pteridine bio markers. The oncopterin level in urine indicates whether cancer is likely to develop, and varying levels of the six pteridines can actually provide a "fingerprint" of the type of cancer.

"I won't give up," Ma says. "I will continue to work on this project until we have succeeded and can market the instrument to save people's lives."

Provided by Missouri University of Science and Technology

Related Stories

Recommended for you

A study suggests that epigenetic treatments could trigger the development of aggressive tumours

November 20, 2018
A study headed by the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) and published in the journal Nature Cell Biology examined whether the opening of chromatin (a complex formed by DNA bound to proteins) is the factor ...

Redefining colorectal cancer subtypes

November 20, 2018
There is a long-standing belief that colorectal cancer (CRC), which causes some 50,000 deaths in the United States each year, can be categorized into distinct molecular subtypes. In a paper published recently in the journal Genome ...

'Druggable' cancer target found in pathway regulating organ size

November 20, 2018
It's known that cancer involves unchecked cell growth and that a biological pathway that regulates organ size, known at the Hippo pathway, is also involved in cancer. It's further known that a major player in this pathway, ...

Proposed cancer treatment may boost lung cancer stem cells, study warns

November 20, 2018
Epigenetic therapies—targeting enzymes that alter what genes are turned on or off in a cell—are of growing interest in the cancer field as a way of making a cancer less aggressive or less malignant. Researchers at Boston ...

New dual-action cancer-killing virus

November 19, 2018
Scientists have equipped a virus that kills carcinoma cells with a protein so it can also target and kill adjacent cells that are tricked into shielding the cancer from the immune system.

New drug discovery could halt spread of brain cancer

November 19, 2018
The tissues in our bodies largely are made of fluid. It moves around cells and is essential to normal body function.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.