• Mass spectrometry could allow foolproof cancer detection for pharma firms
    Pharma organisations could soon have an easy and perfectly accurate diagnosis tool for ovarian cancer

Bioanalytical

Mass spectrometry could allow foolproof cancer detection for pharma firms

Aug 12 2010

Pharma firms and healthcare providers could soon have a 100 per cent accurate test for the presence of cancer cells in patients.

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology applied mass spectrometry to the problem of detecting early-stage ovarian cancer - and may have overcome the obstacle faced by operators in the pharma industry due to its lack of visible symptoms.

They use hot helium plasma to vaporise a single drop of blood serum, before using mass spectrometry to map the metabolites present in the sample.

Differences between healthy patients' blood serum and that of individuals with ovarian cancer have so far led to diagnoses with 100 per cent accuracy.

Initial tests used 94 participants and registered zero false positives and zero false negatives.

However, 100 per cent of test subjects with ovarian cancer were identified using the process.

Georgia Tech professor of biology John McDonald serves as chief research scientist at Atlanta's Ovarian Cancer Institute, a facility founded to serve the "dire need" for studies into the condition.

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