Wednesday, 29 August 2007

U of Georgia researchers seek early detection of pancreatic cancer through the study of glycans

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University of Georgia Cancer Center researchers are studying glycans, the sugars that are on the outside of proteins, to determine if changes in glycans can indicate the presence of cancerous or precancerous pancreatic cells.

According to the director of the center, Michael Pierce, there is evidence that when cells become cancerous they change their glycans in subtle ways.

Glycomics is the study of the types and amounts of glycans expressed by cells and their biological roles. According to Pierce, glycomics is the "wave of the future" of cancer diagnostics.

Pierce adds that the use of glycomics in cancer diagnostics is a relatively new field but has already led to the approval of an early diagnostic test for primary liver cancer. Pierce says that if there are such markers in pancreatic cancer, he and his team will find them.
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