Saturday, January 29, 2011
A single blood drop could detect heart disease, cancer
A University of Victoria researcher hopes to change the nature of testing forheart disease, cancer and drug toxicity using a highly sensitive and fast machine that would only require a single drop of blood from a patient.
Called a mass spectrometer, this machine determines the weight of protein molecules in the blood, and would allow researchers to determine if key marker proteins related to heart disease or cancer are present. The mass spectrometer being used in this research is among the most sensitive spectrometers that are commercially available, and is currently the only one of its kind in Canada.
Dr. Christoph Borchers at the University of Victoria-Genome BC Proteomics Centre will use the Agilent ion funnel 6490 mass spectrometer to develop methodologies for early diagnostic tests. These tests will detect and measure biomarkers, which are proteins in a patient’s blood that can signal early and subtle health changes. Dr. Borchers hopes to apply the technology to develop inexpensive, fast, and reproducible biomarker tests for early diagnosis of cardiovascular disease (CVD), the leading cause of death in the Western hemisphere.