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Potential 'universal' blood test for cancer developed

"Whilst the numbers of people we tested are, in epidemiological terms, quite small, in molecular epidemiological terms, the results are powerful," said Professor Diana Anderson.
By Brooks Hays   |   July 28, 2014 at 2:39 PM   |   Comments

BRADFORD, England, July 28 (UPI) -- A newly developed blood test could help doctors rule out cancer in patients presenting certain symptoms, helping avoid the expense and stress of undergoing unnecessary and invasive procedures like colonoscopies and biopsies. Likewise, the test could help identify hard-to-find cancers in patients, allowing doctors to more quickly commence with a course of treatment.

The blood test was developed by researchers at the University of Bradford, a public university in the city of Bradford, West Yorkshire, England. Early results suggest the blood test can -- with a high rate of accuracy -- locate cancer and pre-cancerous conditions in patients with melanoma, colon cancer and lung cancer.

Called Lymphocyte Genome Sensitivity (LGS) test, the analysis hones in on the DNA of white blood cells. By measuring the damage caused to the DNA of white blood cells when subjected to different intensities of ultraviolet light, researchers can differentiate between the white blood cells of patients with cancer or pre-cancerous conditions and the white blood cells of healthy patients.

"These are early results completed on three different types of cancer and we accept that more research needs to be done," explained Professor Diana Anderson, researcher at the University's School of Life Sciences. "But these results so far are remarkable."

Anderson detailed the test she developed along with her colleagues in a study published in The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

"Whilst the numbers of people we tested are, in epidemiological terms, quite small, in molecular epidemiological terms, the results are powerful," Anderson added.

The new test is currently being employed in a clinical trial at Bradford Royal Infirmary. The trial will be used to determine the effectiveness of the LGS test in determining whether a patient should or shouldn't have a colonoscopy.

© 2014 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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