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Simple Blood Test Can Indicate Cervical Cancer

Researchers develop ‘plasma thermogram’ (January 8)

Scientists at the University of Louisville have confirmed that using the heat profile from a person’s blood, called a plasma thermogram, can serve as an indicator for the presence or absence of cervical cancer, including the stage of cancer.

The new findings were published online Jan. 8 in PLOS One.

To generate a plasma thermogram, a blood plasma sample is melted, producing a unique signature indicating a person’s health status. This signature represents the major proteins in blood plasma, measured by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC).

The investigators found that the plasma thermogram profile varies when a person has or does not have a disease. The team believes that molecules (biomarkers) associated with the presence of disease can affect the thermogram of someone with cervical cancer. They used mass spectrometry to show that biomarkers associated with cervical cancer exist in the plasma.

“The key is not the actual melting temperature of the thermogram, but the shape of the heat profile,” said lead investigator Nichola Garbett, PhD. “We have been able to establish thermograms for a number of diseases. Comparing blood samples of patients who are being screened or treated against those thermograms should enable us to better monitor patients as they are undergoing treatment and follow-up. This will be a chance for us to adjust treatments so they are more effective.”

Source: University of Louisville; January 8, 2013.

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