There are several studies today that focus on being able to know when there is cancer without having to resort to invasive methods. And several of these studies do it by blood. No doubt it will be something that will help a lot in the treatment of tumors because the speed in which they are detected is a primordial thing in its elimination.
The future of cancer diagnosis does not belong to biopsies. A team at the University of Vrije in Amsterdam has developed a technique for the early detection of the disease through a blood test. In the experiment, published in Cancer Cell, six different types of cancer were analyzed.
Tom Würdinger, coordinator of the study, explains: “The tests so far have been able to identify the disease in almost 96% of cases. We are still in an experimental phase, but we will put it ready and available to everyone in less than five years. It is important to identify the disease at an early stage. This technique can save many lives. “
In Italy there is an ongoing experiment that has the same objective. It is the National Cancer Institute of Milan, whose director Ugo Pastorino said: “We have concluded the recruitment and we will complete the test in 4000 volunteers by December. The course of the study requires a period of observation of 1 to 2 years to produce valid efficacy results, but in the meantime we are working on the optimization of the test, to be applicable at the level of more people, and we are sure that this is going to happen in the next two years. The important thing is that we are applying the same strategy for other types of cancer, such as lung, colon, breast, prostate and melanoma, and this should allow us to develop a test that is not simply directed to the discovery of a Only type of cancer, But many. Our dream is to be able to offer a single blood test that gives us a risk profile for all major cancers. “
Another group of researchers at Carnegie Mellon University is working on a blood test that can diagnose the disease in 30 minutes and in a totally non-invasive way. The new technique is based on sound waves to detect circulating tumor cells (CTC), a clear evidence of the presence of the disease. The procedure, described in the PNAS pages, shows a speed of execution 20 times greater than the techniques currently available for CTC research. At the moment it takes about 5 hours to analyze a blood sample of 5 milliliters.
Another positive aspect is related to the fact that circulating tumor cells are not changed in any way, while the techniques used so far for the detection of CTC can damage the cells.
In addition, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston are working on a blood test for tumors. They do so in collaboration with a company belonging to Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceutical research division, Veridex, which today announced the start of collaboration with the research center in Boston. The same pharmaceutical company had already developed a similar test but had a limit, the cancer cells could be identified and counted, but they could not take them for analysis. The novelty of this examination will be precisely that it will allow capturing them to study them in vitro.
The technique in question uses a microchip equipped with 78,000 slots covered with antibodies and markers that attract and bind cancer cells.