A new blood test developed by the University of Nottingham and medical company, Oncimmune, can successfully detect cancer up to five years before a tumor is identified, according to reports.
The blood test is the first of its kind that can accurately identify biomarkers in the blood that indicate the first signs of cancer growth. The test, which has been in development for 15 years, was initially designed to improve early diagnosis among lung cancer, pancreas cancer and gullet cancer. All three of these types of cancer are notorious for being difficult to diagnose before considerable progression of the tumor.
The success behind the blood tests revolves around minute productions of antigens created by cancer cells. The production of these antigens causes an autoimmune response within the body, which results in the production of cancer-fighting agents known as autoantibodies.
Through years of trial and error, researchers have been able to identify how different combinations of these antigens within the blood signal different types of cancer. Now, the team reports that diagnoses of cancer from as little as 10 milliliters of blood are reliable enough for public use.
The new weapon against cancer, dubbed EarlyCDT-Lung, is expected to be available in the United States by the end of the month. In Britain, the blood test will be available by early next year.
Currently, a similar blood test is in the works to effectively diagnose breast cancer earlier. Those involved in the study are also hopeful that such a test could properly identify as much as 90 percent of all types of cancer.
Given that early detection is often a critical component of cancer survival, the simple blood test is seen as a paradigm shift in cancer treatment. For those at risk for lung cancer – especially cigarette smokers – the simple test has already shown dramatic results among study participants. In a number of cases, those who received a blood test either received a confirmation of lung cancer or helped reverse the previous diagnosis of a tumor nodule as non-cancerous.