Spectral Biomarkers in Plasma of Cancer Patients
University of Santo Tomas
Research Center for the Natural and Applied Sciences
Bernard John V. Tongol, Ph.D.
Pia Marie Albano, Ph.D.
8 weeks
Cities/Months Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Augt Sep Oct Nov Dec
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Type of Research Project
- Basic science
What is the background of the project?
Most cases of cancer are curable if diagnosed early. Hence, there is the urgent need to evaluate novel biomarkers for their early detection. In this study, the potential of Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) as a more objective and efficient high throughput method for screening and diagnosing malignancy of the breast, lung, colon, or thyroid using plasma or serum will be explored. This is based on the idea that plasma or serum samples from cancer patients produce significantly different vibrational patterns in the IR fingerprint region compared to clinically healthy individuals. Hence, FTIR spectroscopy is a potential rapid, inexpensive, and less-invasive screening and diagnostic tool, which can complement existing clinical- and histopathologic-based methods for diagnosing cancer.
What is the aim of the project?
This study generally aims to identify spectral biomarkers in plasma or serum that can discriminate between patients with malignant or benign tumors of the breast, lung, colon, or thyroid. Further, it aims to determine the effects of pre-analytical and analytical factors such as sample dilution, overnight fasting, type of collection tube, storage temperature, and length of storage on FTIR analysis.
What techniques and methods are used?
This study will utilize a case-control design, wherein blood coming from individuals histologically diagnosed of breast, lung, colon, or thyroid cancer will be subjected to FTIR spectroscopy and their spectral data will be compared with blood samples from clinically healthy individuals. The spectral biomarkers will be tested on a larger cohort to determine their potential in discriminating malignant from benign disease; in categorizing tumors according to grade and stage; in classifying them without the need for hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) and immunohistochemical staining; and also in monitoring therapeutic response. Moreover, effects of pre-analytical and analytical factors such as fasting, type of blood collection tube, type of diluent and dilution factor, storage temperature, and length of storage will also be determined.
What is the role of the student?
- The tasks will be done under supervision
What are the tasks expected to be accomplished by the student?
Each exchange student will be assigned a set of tumor samples (malignant and benign) to analyze by Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, but with the supervision of a laboratory technician or research assistant. The student will also be required to attend and present his/her results during group discussions or seminars; attend lectures on statistical analysis of data (prinicpal component analysis, hierarchical cluster analysis, linear discriminant analysis) and application of artificial intelligence in this field; and if possible, present his/her results in a conference. The student will also take part in the writing and publication of the results in reputable journals.
Will there be any theoretical teaching provided (preliminary readings, lectures, courses, seminars etc)
• preliminary readings to be provided before joining the lab • hands-on seminar on the use of FTIR by Bruker product specialist • the tutor will teach the student how to write for publication
What is expected from the student at the end of the research exchange? What will be the general outcome of the student?
- The student will prepare a poster
- The student will prepare a presentation
- The student will prepare a scientific report
- The student will prepare an abstract
- The student’s name will be mentioned in a future publication
- The student will have the opportunity to present the results together with the supervisor at a conference
What skills are required of the student? Is there any special knowledge or a certain level of studies needed?
• Science process skills • Proficient written and oral english communication skills • Subjects passed: biochemistry, biostatistics, pathology
Are there any legal limitations in the student’s involvement
The student will not be entitled nor will have rights to any product or patent that will result from the project.
Type of students accepted
This project accepts:
- Medical students
- Graduated students (less than 6 months)
- Pre-Medical students from the American-British system
- Students in biomedical fields
- 1. Bangaoil R; Santillan A; Angeles LM; et al. ATR-FTIR spectroscopy as adjunct method to the microscopic examination of hematoxylin and eosin-stained tissues in diagnosing lung cancer. PLoS One. 2020;15(5):e0233626.
- 2. Medipally DKR; Nguyen TNQ; Bryant J; et al. Monitoring Radiotherapeutic Response in Prostate Cancer Patients using High Throughput FTIR Spectroscopy of Liquid Biopsies. Cancers 2019; 11: 1–18.
- 3. Finlayson D; Rinaldi C; Baker MJ. Is Infrared Spectroscopy Ready for the Clinic? Anal Chem. 2019;91(19):12117-12128. doi:10.1021/acs.analchem.9b02280
- 4. Butler HJ; Brennan PM; Cameron JM; et al. Development of high-throughput ATR-FTIR technology for rapid triage of brain cancer. Nat Commun. 2019;10(1):4501. doi:10.1038/s41467-019-12527-5
- 5. Baker MJ; Trevisan J; Bassan P; et al. Using Fourier transform IR spectroscopy to analyze biological materials. Nat Protoc. 2014;9(8):1771-1791. doi:10.1038/nprot.2014.110