Man’s Best Friend: a Canine Biosensor for Cancer?

Man’s best friend may someday turn out to be a physician’s tool for the detection of several types of cancer.

NBC Nightly News aired an intriguing story last night about dogs who have the ability to detect ovarian cancer [1]. The story referenced a new study published in the European Respiratory Journal that focused on canine scent detection for the diagnosis of lung cancer [2].

Scientists Learn Why a Little Alcohol Can Be Good For You

A number of studies have asserted that moderate drinking has a positive benefit on cardiovascular health. Now, scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center have discovered how alcohol consumption can help to prevent heart disease. The research, published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, studied the effects of moderate amounts of alcohol in human coronary artery smooth muscle cells and in the carotid arteries of mice [1]. In both cases, regular, limited amounts of alcohol inhibited a protein called Notch 1 and prevented the buildup of smooth muscle cells in blood vessels that leads to the narrowing of the arteries and can put you at risk for a heart attack or stroke.

Red wine

Biomarker Bulletin: April 5, 2011

Biomarker Bulletin is an occasionally recurring update of news focused on biomarkers aggregated at Biomarkers are physical, functional or biochemical indicators of normal physiological or disease processes. The individualization of disease management — personalized medicine — is dependent on developing biomarkers that promote specific clinical domains, including early detection, risk, diagnosis, prognosis and predicted response to therapy.

Biomarker Commons
  • Biomarker Combinations Successfully Discriminate Between Asthma and COPD

    Researchers in Australia have identified a panel of four biomarkers that may aid in the diagnosis and management of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The study, published in the American Thoracic Society’s American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, found that the biomarkers may be used in different combinations to successfully identify patients with either of the airway diseases.

  • Plasma Biomarkers in Liver Cancer Refine Stratification of Patient Risk

    According to an Internal Medicine News report, data presented at the 2011 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting on gastrointestinal cancers in January sponsored by the American Society of Clinical Oncology suggests that a simple blood test may improve on systems conventionally used to estimate prognosis in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma.

  • Xention to Characterize Biomarkers for AF Consortium

    Cambridge-based biopharmaceutical company Xention announced yesterday that it is a partner in the new multidisciplinary atrial fibrillation research consortium, the European Network for Translational Research in Atrial Fibrillation (EUTRAF). The consortium has been awarded a 12 million euro grant to engage in atrial fibrillation (AF) research.

  • Five Metabolite Levels May Improve Risk Prediction for Diabetes

    Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) recently identified five amino acids whose levels indicated increased diabetes risk in a general population. Moreover, the biomarkers could differentiate, among individuals with traditional risk factors such as obesity, those most likely to actually develop diabetes. The findings are published in the journal Nature Medicine.

  • Endothelial Microparticles (EMPs) in the Blood Useful for Identifying Early Signs of Emphysema

    According to a recent study published in the American Thoracic Society’s American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, small particles in the blood released by cells lining the lungs may help clinicians diagnose emphysema in its earliest stages. The particles, called endothelial microparticles (EMPs), are shed during disease progression as pulmonary capillaries in the lungs are injured and die.