Scientists have found a new way to detect tumors in the brain using a device that picks out a certain protein in the urine. This noninvasive method will eliminate the need for invasive tests while also increasing the chances of tumors being detected earlier.
Glioblastoma multiforme is a common and very aggressive brain cancer that causes malignant brain tumors to develop. Common symptoms include blurry vision, recurring headaches and unusual changes in personality or mood.
Tumors in the brain are often detected after neurological symptoms such as loss of speech or movement start to present. By the time these are showing, the tumor may have already grown considerably. Experts believe that the best way to improve survival rates for brain cancer is to find ways to detect the tumors early, which will in turn give the treatment a longer time to take effect.
The study was carried out by researchers from Japan’s Nagoya University. Its findings were reported in “ACS Nano” journal. In their report, the researchers stated that a potential sign of brain tumors was the existence of extracellular vesicles (EVs) in the patient’s urine. Extracellular vesicles are produced by cancer cells and play a big role in cell-to-cell communication as well as helping promote the growth of cells and their survival. This is in addition to increasing metastatic and invasive activity and shaping the microenvironment of the tumor.
The researchers found that the extracellular vesicles found in patients with brain cancer contained certain types of RNA and member proteins, which meant that their detection could be useful in determining cancer progression. The scientists noted that they anticipated that their nanowire assay system would be a strong tool for illuminating extracellular vesicle-mediated tumor-microenvironment crosstalk.
Associate professor Takao Yasui stated that urine tests were a simple, effective and noninvasive identification technique because urine contained various informative biomolecules that could be traced back to identify the illness. Given the invasive nature of blood tests, this breakthrough may streamline the detection of cancer. Yasui further observed that, at the moment, the isolation of extracellular vesicles and detection techniques required an assay and instruments to isolate then detect them.
This is in comparison to the nanowire assay the researchers developed, which could isolate and detect extracellular vesicles through a single procedure. Yasui then added that the research team was focused on advancing the analysis of the expression levels of certain membrane proteins in the extracellular vesicles found in patients’ urine.
The possibility of detecting deadly brain cancers through running urine tests, as well as the numerous drug-development efforts being undertaken by enterprises such as CNS Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: CNSP), suggest that a time is coming when cancer patients’ clinical outcomes will be a lot better than they currently are.
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