New Blood Test Detects And Classifies Cancer In 96 Percent Of Patients

By Angela Laguipo, Tech Times | November 14, 8:54 AM | See Original Here

[COMMENT: Hopefully this technology will continue to prove itself because it would certainly make detecting pediatric cancers a lot easier. (ALAN)]

Scientists have developed a new blood test detects, classifies, and determines the location of cancer cells in the body with just one drop of blood. The RNA-based blood test on platelets can determine cancer with 96 percent accuracy and identified the type of cancer with 71 percent accuracy.

Scientists from the University of Umeå University, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Massachusetts and Netherlands, wanted to develop a simple blood test using platelets to spot, classify and identify cancer types. They found out that platelets, a component of the blood, reflect a complete and accessible blood-based source of sampling.

"Being able to detect cancer at an early stage is vital," co-author Jonas Nilsson, cancer researcher at Umeå University said in a press release.

"We have studied how a whole new blood-based method of biopsy that can be used to detect cancer, which in the future renders an invasive cell tissue sample unnecessary in diagnosing lung cancer, for instance," he added.

They collected blood samples from around 283 individuals. After sequencing RNA from all participants, they accurately detected cancer and distinguished it as localized or metastasized cancer tumors in all 228 patients, while detecting no evidence of any cancer in the other 55 participants.

The test successfully identified the location of the primary cancer tumor in organs like the lungs, pancreas, brain, liver, colon with 71 percent accuracy. According to Nilsson, "nearly all forms of cancer" were determined and this proves that RNA blood-based biopsies shows promise in improving early detection of cancer.

In recent years, the role of platelets have been investigated and studies show that they do more than just promoting clotting. It was discovered that they take up protein and RNA molecules from cancer tumors. There is also a possibility that platelets have a role in tumor growth and metastasis. Hence, the researchers aimed to investigate whether the RNA from tumors carried in platelets could be used to identify and classify common cancer types.

"By combining next-generation-sequencing gene expression profiles of platelet RNA with computational algorithms we developed, we were able to detect the presence of cancer with 96 percent accuracy," Dr. Bakhos Tannous from the MGH Department of Neurology explained.

The study was published in the journal Cancer Cell.