It is well recognised that changes in the DNA methylation landscape are a hallmark of cancer. This epigenetic reprogramming creates a methylation landscape, distinct from that of normal DNA, characterized by clustered methylation at regulatory promoter regions separated by large tracks of hypomethylated regions. While this process is well characterized, most DNA methylation cancer diagnostics focus on differences in DNA methylation at a few specific loci, and thus are only able to identify a few cancer sub-types. 

Researchers at the University of Queensland have developed a method that steps away from the current “specific loci” approach and looks at the DNA molecule more globally, detecting the overall changes in the levels and patterns in DNA methylation, which are the consequence of cancer.

 

Key features
  • Fast method for differentiating cancer DNA from normal DNA based on physicochemical properties imparted by global DNA methylation profile  
  • No Bisulphite conversion or PCR amplification required 
  • Works on genomic DNA from tumour and cfDNA from plasma 
  • Potential to be used as fast (10 mins) enrichment process for downstream PCR or sequencing assays to reduce signal to noise ratio
  • Validated on over 100 tumour samples taken from breast, prostate and lymph node; and over 400 plasma samples from patients with breast, prostate and colorectal cancer  

 

Further information:

Press Release (The University of Queensland, 5 Dec 2018)

Media coverage:

 

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