A University of Connecticut chemist has devised an improved means of early oral cancer detection.
Prof. James Rusling and colleagues previously developed a method of detecting the protein interlukin-6, this protein can signal the presence of oral cancer. But Prof. Rusling did not feel this single protein was enough to make a case as false positives are far too common using only one protein (“biomarker”). His team developed a device that will detect multiple proteins by attaching antibodies which produce an electric current. This current can be read by another antibody embedded with a microchip.
“Single biomarkers do not provide enough statistical power, and there is too much biological variability in humans for predictions based on them to be correct more than three-fourths of the time at best,” Prof. Rusling says. “And often prediction reliability is much worse than this.”
Prof. Rusling and his team hope to incorporate their work into a new tool for oral cancer detection. Eventually, they hope to expand into using multiple biomarkers to aid in the detection of other types of cancer as well.