Cancer, irrespective of its types, could be detected by a
simple blood test, say British scientists. According to them, the new blood
test will allow doctors to rule out cancer in patients presenting with certain
symptoms - saving time and avoiding costly and unnecessary invasive procedures
Researchers of the University of Bradford
early results have shown the simple test can detect cancer and pre-cancerous
conditions from the blood of patients with melanoma, colon cancer and lung
cancer with a high degree of accuracy.
Alternatively, it could be a useful aid for people who are
suspected of having a cancer that is currently difficult to diagnose, add the
The Lymphocyte Genome Sensitivity (LGS) checks white blood
cells and evaluates the harm caused to their DNA when subjected to different
intensities of ultraviolet light (UVA), which is known to harm DNA.
The study shows a clear distinction between the damage to the white blood cells from patients with cancer, with pre-cancerous conditions and the white blood cells from healthy patients.
"White blood cells are part of the body's natural defence
system. We are aware that they are under stress when they are fighting cancer
or other diseases. So I wondered
whether anything assessable could be seen if we put them under further stress
with UVA light. We found that people with cancer have DNA that is more easily
damaged by ultraviolet light than other people," said Diana Anderson, professor
from the University's School of Life Sciences and the lead researcher.
The conclusions were made after looking at the blood samples
of 208 people.
In this, 94 were healthy members of university staff and
students and the remaining 114 were collected from patients referred to
specialist clinics within Bradford Royal Infirmary prior to diagnosis and
UVA damage was noticed in the form of pieces of DNA being
pulled in an electric field towards the positive end of the field, causing a
The longer the tail, the more DNA harm. And these
measurements compared to those patients who were ultimately diagnosed with
cancer (58), those with pre-cancerous conditions (56) and those who were
"These are early results finished on three different types
of cancer and we agree that more research needs to be conducted; but these
results so far are outstanding," Diana Anderson added.
She noted that while the numbers tested were small, the
'results are powerful'.
The test's accuracy is now being evaluated in a clinical
trial at Bradford Royal Infirmary with patients suspected to have colorectal
A patent has been filed for the technology and Oncascan
Limited has been established to commercialize the research.
The research is published online in FASEB Journal, the
U.S. Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology