A universal blood test for cancer is in the works.
Researchers from the University of Bradford in England devised a blood test that can be used to detect whether or not people have cancer. (Take a look at the gallery above to dispel some of the myths surrounding cancer.)
The test would allow doctors to rule out cancer in patients who present certain symptoms, which in turn would save time and money on invasive procedures, such as colonoscopies and biopsies. The test will also be beneficial in patients who are thought to have cancer a type of cancer that is hard to diagnose.
Dubbed The Lymphocyte Genome Sensitivity (LGS) test, it looks at white blood cells and measures the damage caused to their DNA when subjected to different intensities of ultraviolet light (UVA). UVA is known to damage DNA.
“White blood cells are part of the body’s natural defense system,” Professor Diana Anderson, who led the research, said in a statement. “We know that they are under stress when they are fighting cancer or other diseases, so I wondered whether anything measureable could be seen if we put them under further stress with UVA light. We found that people with cancer have DNA which is more easily damaged by ultraviolet light than other people, so the test shows the sensitivity to damage of all the DNA – the genome – in a cell.”
Early research shows that the new testing has a high degree of accuracy in diagnosing melanoma, colon cancer, and lung cancer, as well as their pre-cancerous counterparts.
“These are early results completed on three different types of cancer and we accept that more research needs to be done; but these results so far are remarkable,” said Professor Anderson in a statement.
A clinical trial is currently underway at Bradford Royal Infirmary in the United Kingdom. The research is published online in FASEB Journal, the US journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.
Outlet Full Name: Houston Chronicle
Author: Andrea Waguespack