Researchers from Umeå University, Sweden, have come up with a new blood test that is capable of detecting and locating cancer in patients. It was developed in the hopes of coming up with an accurate and easy approach to detect cancer along with its location in the human body while not opting for any invasive cell tissue sampling. The test requires a single drop of blood and examines the blood platelets in order to ascertain the presence of cancer. The results are quite promising with a 96% identification accuracy.
The research was based on how tumors ‘educate’ platelet RNA profiles – leave an imprint of cancer in the blood. By searching for and looking at these tumor-educated blood platelets (TEPs), the team hoped to successfully identify the presence of cancer along with its location in the body and wanted to do so with an accuracy.
The analysis was carried out on blood samples that were taken from a total of 283 patients out of which 228 were known to have some form of cancer. The procedure was able to identify the presence of cancer accurately in 96% of cases while the origin of the tumor was ascertained with an accuracy of 71%. The results also highlighted the molecular difference in the cancers and doctors will make use of them for prescribing the best approach for individual patient’s treatment.
Jonal Nilsson, study co-author, said, “Being able to detect cancer at an early stage is vital. We have studied how a whole new blood-based method of biopsy can be used to detect cancer, which in the future renders an invasive cell tissue sample unnecessary in diagnosing lung cancer, for instance. In the study, nearly all forms of cancer were identified, which proves that blood-based biopsies have an immense potential to improve early detection of cancer.”
As a whole, the results have indicated that the analysis of platelets demonstrate a strong option for the cancer cells’ identification all over the body. The research’s findings have been published in the journal, Cancer Cell.