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Finding Colon Cancer

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Two new DNA-based tests are being developed with the aim of detecting colon cancer earlier and reducing the rate of the disease, says the New York Times' Nicholas Wade. The tests could also help people avoid unnecessary colonoscopies — doctors would only send patients for that invasive exam if they tested positive in one of the DNA tests, Wade says. One of the tests — made by Exact Sciences — looks in stool samples for four mutated genes that are indicative of colon cancer, while the other — which is being developed by Epigenomics AG in Germany — looks in a patient's blood for the septin 9 gene, which is not one of the four Exact looks for, he adds. Both tests are expected to be on the market within two years.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.