|Professor Kim Hyun-soo (left) and Professor Yoon Jung-hwan|
Researchers at Seoul National University Hospital (SNUH) have developed a new analytical technique for detecting the hepatocellular carcinoma markers in the blood, which indicates the possibility of liver cancer, the hospital said Monday.
The team, led by Professors Kim Hyun-soo and Yoon Jung-hwan at the hospital, expects that the new technology, which improves the sensitivity of the liver cancer marker “AFP-L3” by more than 30 percent, will contribute to the early diagnosis and survival rate of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
AFP-L3 is a liver cancer marker approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Although the marker shows high accuracy in diagnosing liver cancer, it is more expensive than analysis on other AFP markers.
Currently, “μTAS,” a product manufactured by Japanese medical device company Wako, exclusively analyzes AFP-L3. The method uses antigen-antibody reaction and liquid-phase binding assay to detect the AFP-L3 marker.
In contrast to the Wako’s machine, the SNUH team’s mass spectrometer multi-reaction detection method uses a method of measuring the intrinsic mass of a marker.
The team’s method is highly accurate and can analyze multiple markers in a single test, making the Wako’s technology more convenient, which requires the development of new antibody assays based on the type of markers.
The researchers compared 400 hepatocellular carcinomas, hepatocellular carcinomas, and hepatitis blood samples collected at SNUH with either the team’s mass spectrometer method or μTAS.
As a result, the team found that their mass spectrometer was more sensitive than μTAS as their method was able to accurately diagnosed liver cancer in more patients, up to 30 percent.
"With the new analytical techniques, more than 300 cancer markers, including liver cancer markers, can be measured in just one analysis." Professor Kim said. "We expect that our technology will become valuable to both the medical and diagnostic industry.”