Inexpensive procedure shows whether patient has cancerous cells in the body, but does not reveal where or how serious it is
Coloured scanning electron micrograph of dividing breast cancer cells. Photograph: Steve Gschmeissner/Getty/Science Photo Library RM
(Ian Sample/ The Guardian) — Scientists have developed a universal cancer test that can detect traces of the disease in a patient’s bloodstream.The cheap and simple test uses a colour-changing fluid to reveal the presence of malignant cells anywhere in the body and provides results in less than 10 minutes.
While the test is still in development, it draws on a radical new approach to cancer detection that could make routine screening for the disease a simple procedure for doctors.
“A major advantage of this technique is that it is very cheap and extremely simple to do, so it could be adopted in the clinic quite easily,” said Laura Carrascosa, a researcher at the University of Queensland.
The test has a sensitivity of about 90%, meaning it would detect about 90 in 100 cases of cancer. It would serve as an initial check for cancer, with doctors following up positive results with more focused investigations. (…)