What are some disadvantages and advantages of DNA microarray tests?

January 6, 2010

Lymphoma is the most prevalent form of blood cancer in the developed world and originates in the lymphocytes of the immune system. DNA microarray tests have begun to gain attention in the treatment of the condition. DNA Microarray technology is a relatively new and promising development in medical science technology. It is frequently referred to as gene profiling and is widely regarded as being very promising for the accurate diagnosis of lymphoma and also for the formulation of personalized treatments for each patient, based on the information procured.

Microarry testing is quite a complicated business and to simply categorize and describe it according to its merits or disadvantages would be an oversimplification. Microarray testing can be described as a method of testing samples of cells to identify the presence of genes that are expressed or not expressed in that given sample. This knowledge eventually enables researchers to understand and study in much greater detail the exact composition of the various cells that they are interested in, and in this context, more specifically lymphoma cells. If a test sample includes both normal and healthy cells along with the diseased cells then researchers can easily compare the two to recognize the differences in the form of gene expressions.

The knowledge thus gained helps researchers better understand how lymphoma and many other diseases work, which also means that it opens up possibilities for treatment that can be more patient specific or individualized, as it would be possible to identify which treatments would be best suited to each combination of gene expression. DNA microarray testing can be employed to identify DNA, as in comparative genomic hybridization, or to identify RNA, most commonly as cDNA, after reverse transcription, that may or may not be translated into proteins. The measurement of gene expression through cDNA is an altogether independent domain referred to as expression profiling or expression analysis.

DNA microarray tests are not a routine procedure when diagnosing lymphoma, but it is a new and exciting procedure that shows great promise. In fact, most cases where the technology is employed are in clinical studies. This is because scientists and researchers still do not fully understand the various implications of the variety of gene combinations, and how these varied combinations affect the behavior and treatment of lymphoma. The speed and efficiency of the tests is an important advantage as is the fact that it is quite cheap to use. Another feature that is worth mentioning is the fact that it is neither radioactive nor toxic, making it very user friendly.

Submitted by M T on January 6, 2010 at 08:57

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