Team:Westminster/Problem

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<img src="http://2012.igem.org/wiki/images/1/18/Cancer_occurrence_rates_edit.png" alt="Occurence rates" title="Occurrence Rates" />
<img src="http://2012.igem.org/wiki/images/1/18/Cancer_occurrence_rates_edit.png" alt="Occurence rates" title="Occurrence Rates" />
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<h2>Cancer Recurrence</h2>
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<p>Cancer recurrence is one of the fears that almost every patient undergoing chemotherapy develops. Recent findings suggest that only a small fraction of the tumor cells, called Cancer Stem Cells (CSC) are able to drive the growth of the tumor. CSC also show an increased drug resistance, and could remain unaffected after chemotherapy, eventually resulting in the formation of a new tumor.</p>
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<p>Even though cancer treatment and management techniques have improved over the years, cancer recurrence continues to be a problem and source of concern amongst sufferers, their families and medical professionals. The American Cancer Society approximates that about 20% of all breast cancer survivors will develop a recurrent breast cancer. Several reasons have been given for recurrence, one of which is that not all cancer cells are killed during cancer treatment, so these cancer cells are then able to regenerate new tumors. </p>
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<p>Cancer recurrence is one of the fears that almost every patient undergoing chemotherapy develops. Recent findings suggest that only a small fraction of the tumor cells, called Cancer Stem Cells (CSC) are able to drive the growth of the tumor. CSC also show an increased drug resistance, and could remain unaffected after chemotherapy, eventually resulting in the formation of a new tumor.</p>
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<h2>Unavailability of Early Diagnostic Tests</h2>
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<p>Even with extensive research into cancer and its surrounding phenomena, there is still an unavailability of diagnostic tests that catch some cancers before they start to exhibit serious symptoms. Cancers like bowel and pancreatic cancers can usually not be detected until a patient develops a very big tumor or experiences some bleeding in their stool. It would be ideal to have blood or even non-invasive urine tests that can detect biomarkers for these cancers at the early stages and prevent them from metastasizing. </p>
 +
<h2>Tracking Metastasis</h2>
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<p>Even when cancers have been detected in the late stages, medical experts experience problems with detecting areas to which the cancer has spread. </p>
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<h2>Current Tools for Cancer Research</h2>
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<p>Currently, the Aldefluor assay is commonly used to identify and isolate cancer stem cells.This is a chemical assay used to detect high levels of ALDH expression in cells. Our project aims to build a molecular system which would offer greater sensitivity by targeting distinct ALDH isoforms.   </p>
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Latest revision as of 03:52, 27 September 2012

Welcome

The Problem

Cancer

Cancer remains one of the biggest killers in the world. There are currently about 12.7 million sufferers of cancer around the world, and the number is expected to have doubled by 2030. Around one in four deaths in the UK is caused by cancer, and it is estimated that one in three people will develop a form of cancer in their lifetime. (Cancer Research UK)

Occurence rates

Cancer Recurrence

Even though cancer treatment and management techniques have improved over the years, cancer recurrence continues to be a problem and source of concern amongst sufferers, their families and medical professionals. The American Cancer Society approximates that about 20% of all breast cancer survivors will develop a recurrent breast cancer. Several reasons have been given for recurrence, one of which is that not all cancer cells are killed during cancer treatment, so these cancer cells are then able to regenerate new tumors.

Unavailability of Early Diagnostic Tests

Even with extensive research into cancer and its surrounding phenomena, there is still an unavailability of diagnostic tests that catch some cancers before they start to exhibit serious symptoms. Cancers like bowel and pancreatic cancers can usually not be detected until a patient develops a very big tumor or experiences some bleeding in their stool. It would be ideal to have blood or even non-invasive urine tests that can detect biomarkers for these cancers at the early stages and prevent them from metastasizing.

Tracking Metastasis

Even when cancers have been detected in the late stages, medical experts experience problems with detecting areas to which the cancer has spread.

Current Tools for Cancer Research

Currently, the Aldefluor assay is commonly used to identify and isolate cancer stem cells.This is a chemical assay used to detect high levels of ALDH expression in cells. Our project aims to build a molecular system which would offer greater sensitivity by targeting distinct ALDH isoforms.