Cancer Free? Get the "Ivy Gene" Test

December 24, 2018

Cancer Free? Get the "Ivy Gene" Test


 References: Jenny Hrbacek's Cancer FreeProceed Natl Acad Sci USA

 This might be the best test of them all, so please concentrate on this week's cancer test: The IvyGene. The science if a bit dense, but not incomprehensible. The core function that is being measured is the patterns of signaling placed on DNA in cells. Your body attaches a carbon atom, with three hydrogens on it, called a methyl group, to DNA as a marker for something to happen. The proteins that read your DNA are designed to be able to interpret what those little nubbins of carbon and hydrogen mean when they are present, or absent. Here is the rub. Cancer cells have a reliable pattern of methylation that differs from regular cells. If we have a sample of cancer cells in a blood test, we can measure their DNA and now find that those patterns are present, or absent, as the case may be to indicate either cancer is there, or no. And we can do that all years and years before the cancer is large enough to be detected on a CT scan or a physical exam. 

Remember, go back to cancer physiology. A cancer colony that you can feel or see is often 1 cm in size, which is a billion cells. And a billion cells represents 30 doublings or generations of cancer. We want to catch those little buggers when they are at the 10 generation stage, not the 29 generation stage. And that's what the IvyGene test does. How accurate is it? The sensitivity is said to be 86% and the specificity is 88%. This is amazing for a medical test that is now allowing us a sneak peek years before our current testing methods. What does it cost? Well, it has been $ 400 in the past but depending on where you get it drawn, the draw and shipping fee can add a bit to that. It has to be ordered by a physician, but to date insurance doesn't pay for it. It should www.What will work for me. I think this is the best test with the best science for managing the success of therapy. It has only been scientifically validated for colon, breast, liver and lung but others are on the list to become validated, so it's worth asking about. I've got it in my office. 

 Pop Quiz:

  1. How does the IVYGENE test work?                                                  Answer: It measures unique to cancer methylation patterns on DNA.
  2. What on earth is methylation?                                                         Answer: How DNA is marked so that cells know how and when to copy genes. Cancer cells do dysfunctional growth which is visible on the methylation pattern seen on their DNA. Nifty. Gets right to the heart of the problem with cancer.
  3. How early can it be positive?                                                             Answer: We believe as much as 7 years before clinically visible cancer shows up
  4. Why is it useful?                                                                                   Answer: Two reasons. It rises and falls as a cancer grows or recedes, and it tells you if the cancer is even there. With that information you can make decisions about whether you think your therapy decisions are working or not.
  5. The IVG Gene is widely available? T or F                                         Answer: Well, you can get it anywhere you can find a doctor to order it for you. The traditional oncology system hasn't used it widely yet.