Simple urinalysis could allow the early diagnosis of one of the most deadly and difficult to defeat diseases, the cancer to the brain. A Japanese study, conducted by a group of scientists from the universities of Tokyo and Nagoya and led by two Japanese scientists, Takao Yasui and Yoshinobu Baba, has discovered two key proteins contained in the urine, which would reveal the presence of cancer in a stage prior to its full-blown development in the cerebral areas.
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Discovered two proteins
To carry out the research, the Japanese team took urine samples from patients with brain tumors and discovered two specific types of proteins, CD31/CD63, associated with the development of brain cancer. But the groundbreaking study went beyond discovery, with the development of a device that diagnoses the presence of these specific elements in human urine.
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A discovery that paves the way for the hope of a targeted cure, because it would make it possible to hit the cancer in an early stage, when the disease still allows for greater possibilities of intervention with higher success rates. The other advantage of this Japanese method is the non-invasiveness of the examination and the ease with which it can be performed: «The liquid biopsy can be performed through different types of body fluids» explain the Japanese researchers, according to which «this method could aid in the identification of the tumor before the development of symptoms”.
Although early detection of many types of cancer has contributed to the recent increase in survival rates, that of brain tumors has remained almost unchanged for more than 20 years, in part due to their late detection, because they are only discovered after the onset of neurological symptoms, such as loss of movement or speech.
Detecting the tumor when it is still small and starting treatment as soon as possible could help save lives. One possible sign that a person has a brain tumor is the presence of nanometer-sized extracellular vesicles involved in a variety of functions, including cell-to-cell communication.
From study to treatment, the step is not short, obviously but it can be a breakthrough against one of the dark evils that afflicts humanity. “Our platform could allow us to advance the analysis of expression levels of specific membrane proteins in urinary EVs of patients. This possibility represents a significant step forward in the early diagnosis of different types of cancer», add the authors of the study published in the American Chemical Society journal Nano.
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