As researchers refine the sequencing and other genetic screening tools based on medical and epidemiologic data in cancer they are increasingly examining approaches that address the barriers to achieving high quality screening.

Immunology coordinators clinical data analysis panels and genetic counseling panels are vital components of the integrated care of patients diagnosed with cancer according to Susan Eilers Ph. D. vice president of the Institute for Patient Safety and Quality at AAB-CSC and ASCO a Texas AM student-led organization that researches patient-centered predictive testing and screenings.

In a recent Opinion piece published by OnCologic News two of her colleagues reviewed research on therapeutic microarrays short pieces of paper or plastic that are used to collect vesicles or tiny drug-infused vials used to collect cancer cells and other biological fluids from outpatient clinics academic research centers and hospital pathology laboratories and cancer centers.

The uniqueness of our review was to highlight the many important advances in clinical effectiveness of antigen-specific testing identification of therapeutic microarrays using surrogate cell systems and clinic-wide use of enhanced cell sorting in cancer screening contexts wrote Lisa Hitchings Ph. D. Tarc A. Bateman Ph. D. co-author of the article professor of medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham while she was taking a clinic visit. Hitchings researched the use of surrogate cells in oncology and the antibody tests that are sometimes used.

She called the article a must read as the researchers trace genomic events in a patients immune system that could not be detected using standard cell-based assays. The current assay is based on the miR-204 protein that detects cancer cells but it may not capture Proteobacteria the bacteria that cause colon cancers and bladder cancer which is the third leading cause of cancer death.

Through this analysis we can hone in on the steps in the Mammillary pathway and identify how questions that would not be answered by other approaches can be successfully addressed by precise laboratory testing Eilers said.

The current miR-204 assay is based on cloning and subcloning assays. Alternative testing such as assay technology that does not rely on cloning or subcloning is needed to fully assess antibody responses.

Currently available hybrid x-ray absorptiometry (holopontic) assays rely on the mobilization of all cells in the tumor for analysis which results is limited by a lack of access to electrophysiological data of metastatic or aggressive cells Eilers noted.

For the article Eilers reviewed 39 studies on surrogate cell systems and 29 studies on PCR testing. The drugs tested range from oral HCG-TCT to molecular and electrochemically-activated cell sorting (ABS) assays to PCR testing for expression of tumor markers such as neuretic transcription factor levels and molecule-level c-Myc.

We are encouraged by the breadth of pharmaceutical studies reviewed in this article. This knowledge will help us to familiarize the public with the benefits of enhanced technology and enable new approaches to enhance the precision of cancer screening care and reduce costs and time wrote Eilers. Overall our findings suggest that these assays provide a very compelling strategy for enhanced screening in oncology and cancer care realizing the potential of these tests for providing additional biological insights to scientists and clinicians working in this field.