NEW YORK, April 8 - Researchers at Harvard University have used protein-chip technology developed by Ciphergen Biosystems to identify a biomarker that might lead to faster detection of ovarian cancer.
The researchers showed that a certain protein peak was elevated in a majority of women with ovarian cancer whose sera was obtained and screened by Ciphergen's SELDI technology. The team identified this protein to be the alpha chain of haptoglobin.
Using the SELDI platform again to screen a number of these sera samples, the researchers recorded 90 percent specificity and 71 percent sensitivity when using the haptoglobin peak as the diagnostic criterion. This diagnostic accuracy exceeds that of any currently available blood test for ovarian cancer, the scientists said.
"We found that alpha subunit of the haptoglobin protein was elevated in serum samples across patients with different subtypes of ovarian tumors, and less so across the healthy control samples, suggesting that this protein may represent a novel marker, which may be used to detect ovarian cancer," Samuel Mok, director of the Laboratory of Gynecologic Oncology at the Brigham & Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, said in a Ciphergen statement.