Brandi Wampler | February 9, 2021
When a woman is diagnosed with ovarian cancer, it is likely that the first symptom she experiences is actually the accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity called ascites. Beyond being uncomfortable, ascites helps spread the disease to other organs in the abdomen, such as the liver, stomach, and small and large intestines. One reason ovarian cancer is so deadly is that the symptoms of ascites are often confused with other less serious conditions, delaying correct diagnosis and potentially life-saving treatment.
Researchers at the University of Notre Dame and the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) are working to understand the impact of ascites on the spread of ovarian cancer by developing a new analysis technique. Their study, featured on the cover of Analyst, explains how the technique helps separate the protein CA125 from ascites. CA125 helps cancer evade the immune system and is considered a clinically significant biomarker of ovarian cancer.
“Isolating and studying CA125 has remained a challenge because only a few molecules reside within a large amount of ascites fluid and this protein is also quite large,” said Rebecca Whelan, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and co-author on the paper. “Before we could consider how to make the protein size more manageable to study, we had to figure out a process to isolate CA125 from other proteins in the fluid.”
Read more here.