Vietnamese biologists invent genetic-mutation detection technology

(Record.vn) After two years of research, the Molecular Biology Department of the Central Military Hospital 108 has mastered the technology to detect genetic mutation with high reliability.

biology testing room (vast.ac.vn)

Molecular biologists have found it difficult to discover mutations that may cause cancer because they occur only in malignant cells, such as EGFR, Kras, and PIK3CA in lung and colorectal cancer, and FLT3 , NPM1 and JAK2 in leukemia.

In addition, the current method of taking specimens do not ensure high accuracy as malignant cells may not appear in the samples.

As such, scientists have to find mutation detection methods with high reliability which can discover such mutations or those that only circulate in peripheral blood.

To date, international associations including the European Society for Medical Oncology, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, insurers and the Ministry of Health of Vietnam have not set up any standard method to discover the mutations that may cause cancer.

Laboratories and hospitals in the world use many different methods to detect mutations and different procedures to collect specimens.

Sanger sequencing is the lowest-cost and easiest method, but it has the lowest sensitivity. It can only discover mutations when the number of mutated cells is higher than 20 percent of total cells.

PCR, or Polymerase Chain Reaction, is a method based on the Taqman probe. If Taqman is integrated with Amplification Refractory Mutation System (ARMS), it can discover mutations when malignant cells account for more than 1 percent of total cells.

However, as Vietnam cannot create Taqman probes in accordance with ARMS, all the laboratories using PCR have to import compatible testing kits.

As a result, it is very costly to discover EGFR, Kras and PIK3CA mutations. On average, every patient has to pay VND8 million for every test.

The Bidirectional allele specific PCR with ARMS technology is also an advanced method which high sensitivity. However, the method is costly and cannot be applied on a large scale because the cost is too high for most Vietnamese.

The technology invented by the Central Military Hospital 108 has important significance. With its technology and testing kit, the test costs only VND2.5 million.

According to Ngo Tat Trung and Le Huu Song from the hospital, the testing kit, priced at just one-third of the foreign-made kit, has been recognized by EMQN as meeting safety and accuracy standards for cancer diagnoses.

The Central Military Hospital 108 is considered as one of the most famous hospitals in Vietnam. It is the first hospital in Vietnam that carried out organ transplants (kidney, liver). It is also famous for surgery.

Source: vietnamnet.vn

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