A researcher from Missouri University has devised a method of detecting cancer with the help of urine samples.
Dr. Yinfa Ma has developed a method for pre-cancer screening and hopes to be able to predict types of cancer as well as severity.
"Cancer is the second-highest cause of death among all diseases," said Ma, a Curators' Teaching Professor of chemistry at Missouri University of Science and Technology.
"Early diagnosis of cancer is crucial, but not many people want to go to the hospital to undergo costly, invasive cancer screening," he added.
During the study, the researchers identified six pteridine derivatives, compounds that help regulate the metabolism of cells, in the urine samples.
The levels of some pteridines increased significantly if there is a tumour inside the body.
Ma also discovered a molecule, called oncopterin that exists in the urine of cancer patients but not in healthy human samples.
He said that the oncopterin level in urine indicates whether cancer is likely to develop, and varying levels of the six pteridines can actually provide a "fingerprint" of the type of cancer.
"I won't give up. "I will continue to work on this project until we have succeeded and can market the instrument to save people's lives," he added.