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New Blood Test Can Spot
Cancer Before it Develops


The test is the first to accurately recognise the signals sent out by a person’s immune system as cancerous.

Early research suggests that the signals can be detected up to five years before a tumour is spotted, giving doctors and patients a vital head start in treating the illness.

The test, developed by clinicians in Nottingham and Kansas over 15 years, is to be introduced in America later this month.

It has initially been devised to aid the detection lung cancer and is used alongside conventional screening.

The technology was developed by scientists at the University of Nottingham and Oncimmune, a medical research company.

The test works by identifying how the immune system responds to the first molecular signs of cancer growth.

Cancerous cells produce small amounts of protein material called antigens which prompts the immune system to produce large amounts of autoantibodies.

Scientists can now follow this activity with just 10ml of a patent’s blood.

Professor John Robertson, a breast cancer specialist who led the research, told The Times: “The earliest cancer we have seen is a cancer that has been screen detected, and yet biologically that’s late in the road of cancer development,” he said.

“We are starting to understand carcinogenesis in a way that we have never seen before — seeing which proteins are going wrong, and how the immune system responds. It’s as if your body is shouting ‘I’ve got cancer’ way before a tumour can be detected.”

The research involved 8,000 patients and the test, known as EarlyCDT-Lung, is due to be introduced in Britain early next year.



June 2, 2010

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