Researchers at the Université de Sherbrooke Discover a New Method for Diagnosing Cancer

    SHERBROOKE, QC, Feb. 1 /CNW Telbec/ - A team of researchers in the
Faculté de médecine et des sciences de la santé at the Université de
Sherbrooke has discovered new molecular markers for the detection of ovarian
    Published today in the scientific journal Cancer Research, this study,
under the direction of Professor Sherif Abou Elela of the Department of
Microbiology and Infectious Disease, describes a new molecular signature for
the assessment of ovarian cancer and perhaps other types of cancer.

    A Signature for Ovarian Cancer

    Ovarian cancers are often detected late, since there is no screening test
and the symptoms resemble that of other disorders. While there are therapies
for such cancers, their chances of success are much greater if diagnosis and
management occur early in the disease's development.
    Currently, pathologists examine tissue samples in order to establish a
diagnosis of ovarian cancer. With the discovery of these molecular markers, it
will now be possible to determine more accurately if the ovarian tissue sample
contains cancerous or normal cells. Génome Québec and the Université de
Sherbrooke's robotized RNomics Platform enables researchers to study the large
variety of RNA forms (referred to as splice variants). The research conducted
by the Sherbrooke team has identified many genes whose splice variants could
be associated with the transformation of healthy tissue into cancerous tissue.
    Out of 600 genes studied, Professor Abou Elela's team discovered about
50 genes forming a splice variant signature associated with ovarian cancer.
Most genes products are spliced, which means that a single gene may be
expressed in a variety of forms. On average, each gene product can be spliced
into four or more forms, thereby producing four or more different proteins.
The 50 or so ovarian-cancer signatures were discovered by studying these
different splice forms of the 600 cancer genes.
    "These discoveries are just the beginning of what our research can lead
to, affirmed Professor Abou Elela. The next step will be to apply this
discovery to the performance of cancer treatments. As a result, the treatments
could be much more targeted."

For further information:

For further information: Johanne Leroux, Communications Officer-Health
Section, (819) 432-3400

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