A Simple Blood Test for Cancer – Researchers at Umeå University in Sweden, in collaboration with researchers from University of Massachusetts and Netherlands, have come up with a new way to detect cancer from a single drop of blood, which, they hope, would make invasive biopsies unnecessary in the near future. According to Jonas Nilsson, who coauthored the paper, the RNA testing is 96% accurate.
For the study, researchers took blood samples from 283 participants; 223 participants had some kind of cancer, while the remaining 55 did not. Researchers used platelets, a component in blood that promotes clotting, to develop the test. Recent research has shown that platelets absorb protein and RNA molecules from cancer tumors, hence they can provide a good sample for testing. By comparing the RNA profiles of the blood samples, researchers were able to detect, classify, and find where the cancer originated in the body with 96% accuracy in patients who had been diagnosed with cancer in lung, breast, pancreas, brain, liver, colon and rectum.
Researchers are hopeful, that once the technique is refined, it can be used successfully to detect cancer in its early stages, which can help improve the patient’s chances of recovery and survival. According to Nilsson, the test can identify all types of cancer, and when refined, can be used in conjunction with scans and surgical biopsies.
The study was published in the journal, Cancer Cell.