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Researchers developed blood tests that can detect cancer in its early stages

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Researchers developed blood tests that can detect cancer in its early stages

 Researchers at Kansas State University have succeeded in developing a new method of diagnosing cancer in early stages. Stefan Bossmann, professor of chemistry, and Deryl Troyer, professor of anatomy and Physiology, created blood tests to detect lung cancer and breast cancer before these tumors produce symptoms. Possibility of early diagnosis of cancer means more chances of survival and even cure in some cases. Now, researchers want to develop a similar test to detect pancreatic cancer earlier. Blood tests have the advantage of being time-saving as the results can be ready in less than an hour. In addition, the tests may be repeated shortly and are noninvasive.

Blood test samples

Blood test samples

So far, lung and breast cancers are diagnosed especially when symptoms appear, that is when the patients begin to cough ( when lung cancer occur) or when women notice the appearance of a lump or skin changes, such as nipple retraction (for breast cancer). The diagnosis is made in most situations in stage 2 or 3, when the survival rate is lower than stage 1 or 2.  In addition, Bossmann said that very few people manage to discover they have cancer in early stages.

Breast and lung cancer are among the most common cancers in the world. It is therefore very important to find new methods for early diagnosis of these cancers. Troyer said that this is a step forward in detecting cancer in humans. He added that these blood tests are particularly useful to people who are at risk of cancer such as heavy smokers or those with a family history. He added that those at risk can do so this test quarterly or once a year to see if they had cancer. In addition, the test may be repeated shortly. Furthermore, blood tests are a way to avoid unnecessary investigations such as computer tomography or magnetic resonance imaging. Only if blood tests are positive the patient can use other confirmatory tests.

Actually these blood tests are based on the activity of enzymes that are specific to certain cancers. These enzymes are detected using iron nanoparticles coated with amino acids that are placed in the patient’s urine or blood. In addition, there can be avoided false positive tests because these enzymes used as markers can differentiate between cancer or other diseasem such as inflamation or infection. These tests can be used not only for diagnosis but also for monitoring cancer treatment or after surgery to check if there are tumor cells left in the body.