Cancer Detection

Could a ‘Universal’ Blood Test for Cancer Be on the Horizon?

Body.Disease.Cancer3When it comes to saving lives from cancer, the earlier the diagnosis, the better. But early diagnosis or identification of certain cancers – including melanoma, colon cancer and lung cancer – is often quite difficult. Now, researchers in the UK have developed a simple blood test that could identify which patients have cancer.

The researchers say their test could help doctors in ruling out cancer for patients who present with certain symptoms, which could save time and money, and help to avoid unnecessary invasive procedures, including colonoscopies and biopsies. Additionally, the test could help with patients who are suspected of having a cancer that is difficult to diagnose.

The test, called the Lymphocyte Genome Sensitivity (LGS) test, examines white blood cells and measures the damage done to their DNA when blasted with different levels of ultraviolet light (UVA). The team explains this type of light damages DNA.

“White blood cells are part of the body’s natural defense system,” says lead researcher Prof. Diana Anderson, from the university’s School of Life Sciences.

“We know that they are under stress when they are fighting cancer or other diseases, so I wondered whether anything measurable could be seen if we put them under further stress with UVA light,” she adds. “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.”

Overall, the team says their results show a clear difference in the damage to the white blood cells of patients with cancer, patients with pre-cancerous conditions and those who are healthy.

“This is just in its early stages,” said Prof. Anderson, “but it shows a lot of promise.”

Read the full story.

Source: Medical News Today

How Cancer May Be Avoidable in the Future

Body.Disease.Cancer1Is cancer an inevitable consequence of aging?

Although it is widely thought that cancer is an inevitable consequence of aging, the risk of developing several common cancers decreases with age.

Researchers have long been puzzled by the apparent decrease with age in the risk of developing certain adult cancers.

A possible solution to this puzzle was presented in a recent paper published in Biophysical Reviews and Letters by Professor James P. Brody of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of California, Irvine.

Most cancers have a characteristic age at which they occur. Testicular cancers mostly occur from age 25-40, bone sarcomas in the teens. Beyond the characteristic age, the incidence of these cancers decreases. Several common cancers appear to have a characteristic age greater than the typical lifespan. Observations of these cancers have led to the belief that the incidence of these cancer increases without limit.

One possible explanation is that many cancers originate early in life, possibly before birth. This is called the developmental origin of disease hypothesis. If true, this suggests that a test could be developed that would determine whether a person might develop a specific form of cancer decades before they actually develop it.

Ultimately this test would lead to earlier diagnosis and preventing many forms of cancer from ever developing to the life threatening stage.

Read the full story.

Source: Medical News Today


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Ultra-Sensitive Nano-Chip Capable of Detecting Cancer at Early Stages

Body.Disease.Cancer1Today, the majority of cancers are detected on the macroscopic level, when the tumor is already composed of millions of cancer cells and the disease is starting to advance into a more mature phase. But what if we could diagnose cancer before it took hold – while it was still only affecting a few localized cells? It would be like putting a fire out while it was still just a few sparks versus after having already caught on and spread to many areas of the house.

An international team of researchers, led by ICFO- Institute of Photonic Sciences in Castelldefels, announce the successful development of a “lab-on-a-chip” platform capable of detecting protein cancer markers in the blood using the very latest advances in plasmonics, nano-fabrication, microfluids and surface chemistry. The device is able to detect very low concentrations of protein cancer markers in blood, enabling diagnoses of the disease in its earliest stages. The detection of cancer in its very early stages is seen as key to the successful diagnosis and treatment of this disease.

This cancer-tracking nano-device shows great promise as a tool for future cancer treatments, not only because of its reliability, sensitivity and potential low-cost, but also because of its easy carry-on portable properties, which is foreseen to facilitate effective diagnosis and suitable treatment procedures in remote places with difficult access to hospitals or medical clinics.

Check the full article.

Source: Medical News Today.

Quick, Simple Blood Test For Solid Cancers Looks Feasible

Body.Disease.Cancer4The idea of a general, quick and simple blood test for a diverse range of cancers just came closer to reality with news of a new study published in Nature Medicine. Researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine have devised an ultra-sensitive method for finding DNA from cancer tumors in the bloodstream.

Their new test identified around half of patients with stage 1 lung cancer and all patients with stage 2 or higher disease. They also showed the circulation tumor DNA was highly correlated with tumor volume estimated using CT and PET scans.

This suggests an approach based on the new test could monitor tumors at a fraction of the cost of present methods that rely on imaging studies.

Check the full article.

Source: Medical News Today.