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Chronix's serum DNA blood tests may be the newest way to detect breast and prostate cancer.  (Source: HowStuffWorks)
Report shows that Chronix's serum DNA assays head a new approach in diagnostics of cancer

Chronix Biomedical presented their study results at the 2010 ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago, regarding its serum DNA blood tests. The DNA assays may be the newest diagnostic and prognostic approach in detecting breast and prostate cancer. The high numbers for sensitivity and specificity significantly outperformed the published accuracy data for current methods. 

By employing proprietary algorithms, developed by Chronix researchers, tests can detect and analyze, as well as identify cancer-related bits of DNA that are released by apoptotic cells into the bloodstream. However, only a few regions consistently show apoptotic DNA in the serum. These regions, named 'hotspots,' are specific to the type of cancer – only 29 breast cancer 'hotspots' and 32 prostate cancer 'hotspots' to be exact. 

"By focusing on these blood-born genomic 'hotspots,' we can reliably detect the presence of cancer without having to first isolate or analyze tumor cells," said Howard Urnovits, Ph.D., co-author of the study, and Chief Executive Officer of Chronix. He continued by explaining that Chronix tests for cancers would allow doctors to diagnose cancer at its earliest stages, allowing for greater care and optimize treatment using patients' disease-specific genomic fingerprints. 

The study involved 575 individuals: 200 healthy patients, 178 with early stage breast cancer, and 197 with invasive prostate cancer were employed. Chronix assays detected the breast cancer with a 100% specificity and 92% sensitivity, and prostate cancer with the same 100% specificity and 92% sensitivity. Current practices result in comparatively lower numbers, however, they cannot be directly compared. 

Mammograms have an overall sensitivity of 75% and specificity of 92.3%, as found by a large study of U.S. mammography screenings.The PSA (prostate specific antigen) test, currently used to detect prostate cancer, has an overall 85% sensitivity and 25-35% specificity. The future use of Chronix to detect cancer may reduce the current rate of false negative and false positive results, leading to an improvement in all areas of health care, ranging from patient outcomes to health care costs.

"These new data, although early, provide further evidence that Chronix's proprietary serum DNA assays may represent a new diagnostic and prognostic platform that can identify cancer earlier and more accurately than is currently possible," states breast cancer expert Steven Narod, M.D., F.R.C.P.C. 

This is not the first time Chronix released studies concerning new diagnostic approaches to diseases. Previous studies showed that the Chronix approach can identify the presence/absence of active disease in multiple sclerosis patients, as well as the detection of BSE, or mad cow disease, in veterinary applications.

Many look to these encouraging findings to service clinical researchers, as well as cancer patients. The future use of Chronix assays may in fact increase the survival rate among patients. 

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RE: A matter of cost
By protosv on 6/8/2010 9:42:25 AM , Rating: 2
Oh I totally agree. Somebody's gotta innovate, and it's gonna cost some money to do so, otherwise we'd still be bloodletting people for a fever. All I'm saying is that if the costs don't eventually come down, no insurance company is going to pay for this.

Take for example, genetic testing for hereditary diseases like Gaucher's, Tay-Sachs, etc.. My wife and I wanted to get screened for genetic "compatibility" to make sure we weren't both carriers for a disorder. The insurance company wouldn't cover it, even though it could end up saving them the possibly astronomical costs of treating an ill child. Their rationale is that "most people aren't both carriers, and if we covered this, then everyone would do it. In the long run, we save money by not covering this and having people take their chances."

Same applies here to this screen. Unless it will eventually be covered by insurance plans, this amazing breakthrough will never see widespread use. Insurance companies will just say "Well, most people don't have breast cancer or prostate cancer so it's not financially worth it for us to pay for this screening (although I believe I saw somewhere that close to 75% of men over 70 have it, but end up dying from something else over time first.)

RE: A matter of cost
By Jaybus on 6/8/2010 11:13:10 AM , Rating: 2
You have to compare apples to apples. Insurance companies already pay for mammograms and PSAs. This diagnostic looks to be better than either of those at detecting cancer. But if it costs 10x more, then they won't want to pay. It may, however, be cheaper than a mammogram that requires an expensive instrument. I doubt it is cheaper than a PSA. So they might pay for breast cancer screening and not prostate? Anyway, you have compare to cost of existing diagnostics.

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