Ann Conkle
May 16, 2012

High-speed DNA decoding predicts cancer relapse

A study led by researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has found that high-throughput sequencing, a high-speed DNA-decoding technology, detects the earliest signs of relapse in nearly twice as many leukemia patients as flow cytometry, the current standard for detecting residual disease. "The ability to predict disease relapse sooner with high-throughput sequencing would give hematologists the option to treat cancer recurrence earlier, offering a greater chance of survival. Longer term, this technology potentially also could be used to initially diagnose leukemia and lymphoma much earlier than we can today," said Harlan Robins, author of the paper. The team sequenced patients' T-cell receptor genes before and 29 days after chemotherapy. "The high-throughput sequencing detected minimal residual disease in nearly double the number of patients than flow cytometry -- 22 versus 12 patients, respectively," Robins said.

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