MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Prof. Diana Anderson
Established Chair in Biomedical Sciences
The University of Bradford Richmond Road Bradford West Yorkshire
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: I have worked in this field for over 40 years both as a research scientist in industry and as a university-based researcher. It has always been my ambition to develop a relatively simple and affordable test to predict if a person is sensitive to cancer. In fact, in 1974, I was appointed as Head of Mutagenesis Studies at ICI’s Central Toxicology Laboratory in Manchester, UK, and I was looking at developing a short-term test to predict cancer even back then.
Our ‘universal’ cancer test is different from other ‘universal’ tests being developed, because ours is not looking for a specific biomarker or mutation. Ours is a generic test for cancer in an individual, regardless of any underlying mechanism that’s causing their cancer.
It is known that levels of damage to the DNA in the cellular genome can correlate with cancer and this is what we set out to investigate with the Comet assay.
Of the available tests to detect damage to the genome the Comet assay is very straightforward. This assay was primarily developed as a method to measure DNA damage. Briefly, cells are embedded in agarose on a microscope slide and lysed to remove membranes leaving supercoiled DNA loops, breaks in which after alkaline treatment and alkaline electrophoresis move towards a positive charge. The DNA is stained with a fluorescent dye and visualised by fluorescent microscopy. The image is like Haley‘s comet and the greater number of breaks the greater is the migration to the anode and the greater the damage. Continue reading