Thursday, November 16, 2006

Exhaling genes   posted by rosko @ 11/16/2006 03:59:00 PM

From Epigenetics News:

Researchers at the Wadsworth Center, the public health laboratory of the New York Sate Department of Health, have shown it is technically feasible to detect DNA methylation using a simple breath test. Dr. Weiguo Han and Dr. Simon D. Spivack have tested seven patients by having them breath into a handheld device for 10 minutes, which forms a condensed vapor, to which the methylation assay is applied. The methylated form of all six tumor suppressor genes could be detected using the simple breath test.
    The DNA is believed to be released when cells turn over, or are damaged, in the lungs and airways, he said. “Although it is not possible to say at this point the precise anatomic origin of the airway-derived DNA being tested, it may be that different patterns of gene methylation will themselves actually map the origin of this DNA to particular regions of the airway,” Spivack said.

The researchers hope that the test can be further developed into a non-invasive test for the early detection of lung cancer.