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Researchers Create Blood Test that can Detect Cancer

Update Date: Jul 28, 2014 11:56 AM EDT

According to researchers from the University of Bradford in the United Kingdom, a universal blood test can potentially detect any signs of cancer. The team reported that the early results suggest that the blood test could be a timesaving and cost-effective tool to rule out cancer in patients with certain symptoms.

In this study, the researchers collected blood samples from 208 participants. 94 of them were healthy individuals taken from the staff and student body at the University. The remaining 114 participants had been referred to specialist clinics tied to the Bradford Royal Infirmary. All samples were coded and randomized.

The samples were analyzed by using the blood test called the Lymphocyte Genome Sensitivity (LGS) test. The test examines white blood cells and records the amount of damage present in the DNA after the sample is exposed to varying intensities of ultraviolent light (UVA). The researchers found that the test results indicated a difference between the damage present in the white blood cells of healthy patients, patients with cancer and patients with pre-cancerous conditions.

"White blood cells are part of the body's natural defense system. We know that they are under stress when they are fighting cancer or other diseases, so I wondered whether anything measureable could be seen if we put them under further stress with UVA light. We found that people with cancer have DNA which is more easily damaged by ultraviolet light than other people, so the test shows the sensitivity to damage of all the DNA - the genome - in a cell," lead researcher, professor Diana Anderson, from the University's School of Life Sciences, said according to Medical Xpress. "These are early results completed on three different types of cancer and we accept that more research needs to be done; but these results so far are remarkable."

The researchers acknowledged the fact that the study sample was small. They added that more research is needed before they the LGS test could be used. Currently, there is a clinical trial at the Bradford Royal Infirmary that will test the effectiveness of using the LGS test. The trial will use patients with suspected colorectal cancer.

The study was published in the FASEB Journal.

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