According to the reports from the American Cancer Society, cancer remains the second most common cause of death in the US, accounting for nearly 1 of every 4 deaths. Diagnosing cancer involves the use of a variety of tests that provide details about abnormal cells.
When making a diagnosis, the initial signs and symptoms are investigated through a variety of tests in order to identify whether cancer is causing them and, if so, what type of cancer it is. Blood tests measure substances in the blood that may indicate how advanced the cancer is or other problems related to the cancer.
However, early diagnosis or identification of certain cancers such as melanoma, colon cancer and lung cancer is often quite difficult.
Researchers from the University of Bradford have developed a simple universal blood test that can be used to diagnose whether people have cancer or not. Known as the Lymphocyte Genome Sensitivity (LGS) test, this test will:
- Enable doctors to rule out cancer in patients with certain symptoms
- Save time
- Prevent costly and unnecessary invasive procedures such as colonoscopies and biopsies
- Help investigating patients suspected of having a cancer that is currently hard to diagnose
According to research published online in the U.S. journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), this single blood test may act as more efficient “universal” cancer diagnosis.
The LGS test examines WBC and measures the damage done to their DNA when exposed to different levels of ultraviolet light (UVA). Blood samples taken from 208 individuals were observed. The samples were coded, anonymized, randomized and then exposed to UVA light. The test measured that the longer the tail, the greater the damage to the cell’s DNA. These measurements were correlated to those patients diagnosed with cancer (58), those with pre-cancerous conditions (56) and those who were healthy (94).
Now the team is conducting a clinical trial to determine the effectiveness of the test in accurately predicting patients with suspected colorectal cancer. Several blood tests are now available in laboratories to diagnose different types of cancer. Roche Diagnostics, the leading manufacturer has recently won FDA approval for its Roche Cobas HPV test for diagnosing cervical cancer.