Search for cancer 'biomarkers' described

Jan. 10, 2011 at 7:34 PM
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Jan. 10 (UPI) -- Florida State University researchers say they're working to identify a variety of "biomarkers" that might give earlier warnings of certain cancers.

For more than 15 years, Qing-Xiang "Amy" Sang and her colleagues have focused on finding biomarkers to help in the detection of breast and prostate cancers, two of the most prevalent cancers in the United States, an FSU release said Monday.

"Biomarkers are indicators of certain biological and pathological processes that are occurring, such as cancer," Sang, a professor in Florida State's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, said.

"Either the cancer cells themselves, or surrounding normal tissue for that matter, can produce specific proteins or exhibit other biological changes that provide a signal that something unusual is taking place," she said.

"Different types of cancer produce different biomarkers, so the challenge is to identify the most effective one for each type of the disease."

"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recognized three separate biomarkers for the identification of breast cancer and one for prostate cancer," Sang said.

"But if we can identify new and more accurate biomarkers that offer even earlier glimpses of these diseases, we stand a better chance of offering patients the most customized treatment possible."

"With earlier diagnosis and treatment, the end result will hopefully be fewer people dying from these cancers," Sang said.

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