Saturday 26 June 2010
Blood Test For Cancer Detection Before It Starts
In a major breakthrough, British researchers have developed a blood test that can detect cancer even before it develops and can be diagnosed with tests in use at present.
The new test, which replicates the cancer proteins that trigger the body’s response to the disease, has been developed by the University of Nottingham’s spin-out company Oncimmune Ltd. It will help detect cancer as much as five years earlier than testing methods like mammography and CT scans.
The blood test was developed from the early work of John Robertson, a world renowned breast cancer specialist and professor of surgery at Nottingham University. It is expected to change the current paradigm of diagnosis and treatment for most solid cancers such as lung, breast, ovarian, colon and prostate.
Initially, the blood test will be offered later this month via primary care physicians and pulmonologists in the United States for high risk asymptotic lung cancer patients as well as those who have indeterminate lung nodules. The test, which gives results within a week, will be introduced in the UK early next year.
“We believe this test, along with the others we will launch in the next few years, will lead to a better prognosis for a significant number of cancer sufferers,” according to Geoffrey Hamilton-Fairley, executive chairman of Oncimmune.
Initial research by Prof. Robertson was based on blood samples of breast cancer patients collected in Nottingham. His research revealed that cancer marker could be detected in some of the high-risk patients before they were subsequently diagnosed with cancer. Prof. Robertson showed that the test could have detected over half of the cancers up to four years before they were actually diagnosed.