The best prospect for immediately improving ovarian cancer survival will be the development of new screening and diagnostic tests. This research project aims to screen and identify candidate serum and urine protein markers for ovarian cancer diagnosis. These markers will be valuable in understanding the pathological mechanisms in ovarian cancer development at both molecular and biochemical levels.
Using a comprehensive specimen bank of serum and urine samples collected pre-operatively in patients coming to surgery for a pelvic mass, Dr. Ye and his team will use a new technique, Surface-Enhanced Laser Desorption/Ioniazation (SELDI) mass spectrometry, to identify protein profiles that distinguish who did and did not have ovarian cancer at the time of operation. Dr. Ye will then apply liquid chromatography to further characterize and identify the potential biomarker. An interesting candidate protein or peptide will then be sequenced.
The next phase will involve the development of a practical assay method for the most useful biomarkers. If the protein is known, Dr. Ye plans to use the antibody to confirm its different expression in sera or urine. For a more accurate protein assay, a program will be developed for large population screening. If it is an unknown protein, the monoclonal or polyclonal antibody will be raised and purified for protein quantitative assay. The clinical value of a biomarker with cancer stages, sensitivity, and specificity, as well as data of CA-125, will then be investigated.