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New test to detect rare proteins in blood

ared to ELISA. "The technology is remarkably adaptable to any protein and can be performed in an automated format," notes Greene. He states that the technology will soon be robotized so as to be able to screen for many rare disease-causing proteins using tiny amounts of blood. "It is even possible that one could screen for multiple diseases at the same time and produce a precise accounting of whether disease-causing molecules are present at an early time when disease can be readily treated," adds Greene.

Greene also noted that the FACTT technology represents the further evolution of an earlier approach that was developed in collaboration with Professor of Pharmacology James Eberwine, PhD, also from Penn. The earlier technique employed radioisotopes.

Development of a test for the cancer marker Her2/neu

The researchers compared detection of Her2/neu in the blood between ELISA and FACTT. Her2/neu proteins were in fact first identified by the Greene laboratory in the early 1980s, and the Her2/neu gene was found by other scientists to be overexpressed in breast cancer. Her2/neu is normally a low-abundance molecule that becomes overexpressed in more than 30 percent of primary breast, ovarian, and pancreatic tumors. Part of the Her2/neu molecule is shed from the surface of tumor cells and has been detected in the blood of breast-cancer patients. Higher blood concentrations of Her2/neu correlate with a lower response rate to chemotherapy and shorter survival time after relapse.

The Greene lab developed mouse models that carry cancer cells overexpressing Her2/neu. When these cells are implanted into animals they form tumors exactly like breast tumors in humans. Using ELISA, the researchers could not detect Her2/neu from mouse blood until the tumors reached an inoperable size, but with the new FACTT technology they could detect Her2/Neu in some mice when tumors were barely visible and within two days of implantation. These results indi
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Contact: Karen Kreeger
karen.kreeger@uphs.upenn.edu
215-349-5658
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
12-Mar-2006


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