Hyderabad: A simple blood test now has the potential to diagnose cancer!
A new collaborative study of scientists from India, US and the UK on 16,134 patients drawn from major Indian cities has presented clinical evidence for an innovative test that can detect clusters of cancer cells in the blood, through a simple diagnostic method.
The first of its kind study, which was published in the recent edition of International Journal of Cancer (IJC), holds promise for making cancer screening easier, efficient and affordable in the country. The simple blood test will soon be available commercially.
Dr Vineet Datta, Executive Director, Datar Cancer Genetics, who is involved with the research, during his visit to Hyderabad on Friday said the first of its kind study had established definitive new systemic hallmark to detect cancers.
“The technique we have used is a breakthrough innovation. When clusters of cells break off from an early stage tumour and enter the bloodstream, we can efficiently and accurately isolate a few hundred malignant cells from more than 100 million cells, using just 10 ml of blood. While almost all cancer samples had these cell clusters, they were seen in very few of the samples which were apparently without cancer,” researchers explained.
Dr Tim Crook, Medical Oncologist, St Luke’s Cancer Centre, Royal Surrey County Hospital, UK, who is attending a cancer conference in Hyderabad and is involved in the study, said that the innovative blood-based test will impact outcomes through easy, patient-friendly detection and diagnosis in apparently healthy people who may have a silent malignancy in their bodies.
It has the potential to eliminate the need for invasive biopsies and the risks associated with it. In the near future, a simple, inexpensive blood test that could be all that is required to reliably detect and diagnose cancer, researchers said.