Friday, November 13, 2015

Blood test could change cancer diagnosis

CANCER DIGEST – Nov. 13, 2015 – A new test of blood platelets can be used to detect, classify and pinpoint the location of cancer by analyzing as little as one drop of blood. 

Using this new method, researchers have been able to identify cancer with 96 percent accuracy, according to a study at Umeå University in Sweden recently published in the journal Cancer Cell.

In the study, researchers from Umeå University, in collaborations with researchers from the Netherlands and the US, investigated how a new method of testing the RNA in platelets. RNA is in effect the active form or DNA, it is used in cells to make a specific protein from the code contained in the gene.

Researchers used blood samples from 283 individuals, of which 228 people had some form of cancer and 55 showed no evidence of cancer. By comparing the blood samples' RNA profiles, researchers were able to identify the presence of cancer with an accuracy of 96 percent among patients. Among the 39 patients in the study in which an early detection of cancer had been made, 100 per cent of the cases were identified and classified.

In follow-up tests using the same method, researchers identified the origin of the tumors with an unsurpassed accuracy of 71 percent in patients with diagnosed cancer in the lung, breast, pancreas, brain, liver, colon and rectum. The samples could also be sorted in subdivisions depending on molecular differences in the cancer form, which can be of great use in the choice of treatment method.

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