Brona McVittie reports :: July 2006

Cancer misdiagnosis is a serious problem, so much so that a group of US lawyers have created a law firm specialising in just that. Welcome news for their clients then, that epigenetics carries a new beacon of hope for cancer diagnostics. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institute in Washington, led by Dr Sara Sukumar, have developed a diagnostic test for breast cancer, which more than doubles the effectiveness of current protocol. The team check DNA methylation levels for certain cancer-related genes, which are normally heavily methylated in tumours, a feature  closely associated with their malfunction in cancer cells.