Research Study Involving Northwestern Medicine and Harvard Indicates that Telomeres Could Be the Next Biomarker Pathologists and Clinical Labs Use to Detect Cancer

Researchers demonstrate that the length of blood telomeres may follow a specific pattern before cancer is detectable, which could lead to new diagnostic tests for detecting cancer in its early stages

Pathologists and Clinical pathology laboratories could soon have another tool to aid in the early detection of cancer. New research findings indicate that telomeres could serve as biomarkers for cancer if the right testing is done at the right times.

This study was conducted by Northwestern Medicine, (a collaboration between Northwestern Memorial HealthCare and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine) and Harvard University. It was titled “Blood Telomere Length Attrition and Cancer Development in the Normative Aging Study Cohort”. The findings bring scientists a step closer to understanding how telomeres change with the onset of cancer.

Predictive Biomarker for Cancer Might Be Used in Clinical Lab Testing

“Understanding this pattern of telomere growth may mean it can be a predictive biomarker for cancer,” said Lifang Hou, MD, PhD, the study’s lead author and a professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in a Northwestern Medicine news release. “Because we saw a strong relationship in the pattern across a wide variety of cancers, with the right testing these procedures could be used to eventually diagnose a wide variety of cancers.” (more…)