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DNA ‘fingerprint’ brings prospect of fast test for cancer
There is a tell-tale pattern of gene expression that would allow doctors to spot cancer DNA circulating in the blood
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DNA ‘fingerprint’ brings prospect of fast test for cancer

A “universal fingerprint” has been found in the DNA of common cancers that could one day enable a diagnosis to be made with a simple ten-minute blood test.

Researchers demonstrated that there is a tell-tale pattern of gene expression in cancer genomes which is not found in healthy genomes, allowing them to spot cancer DNA circulating in the blood.

Although it is far too early to know how useful the discovery could be as a clinical tool, scientists said it was an exciting advance in the understanding of cancer.

In the DNA of healthy cells, small molecules called methyl groups are used as a form of “volume control”, turning genes on and off so that they can perform the functions required for the specific kind…

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