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Scientists To Discover Blood Test For Pancreatic Cancer

Update Date: Jan 23, 2014 11:38 AM EST
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Pancreatic cancer is rare to get diagnosed without any screening test. It has also become the fourth-leading cause of cancer deaths in the US. 

Taking a step closer to detect them early, scientists have devised a new blood test that might help spot it early, according to a new study. The test will involve looking for specific genetic biomarkers in a blood sample. 

Researchers analyzed blood samples of more than 400 patients suffering from pancreatic cancer, 300 healthy controls and 25 patients who were having chronic pancreatitis. Chronic pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas which is often caused by chronic alcohol abuse. The team found two microRNA tests possessed potential to diagnose the cancer at an early stage. 

"Being able to detect pancreatic cancer at a very early stage could change this, and lead to the cure of this disease," said Dr. Donald Richards, a pancreatic cancer specialist at Texas Oncology, according to CNet

However, a flaw that researchers mentioned that the test were producing high number of false positive results. Another issue mentioned in the study was that the test was developed around people already diagnosed, therefore biomarkers might not be present in people in earlier stages. 

Presently, patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer have two options to chose from. Either let the disease run its course or surgically remove part of the pancreas. 

"Having an early diagnosis system could be useful," said William Phelps, program director at the American Cancer Society, according to CNet. "It's kind of based on an article of faith in that we expect there will be good therapies arising in the future. You would like early detection to be paired with a capacity to treat successfully."

Given the fact that how deadly the disease is, any news regarding is a good news. 

The findings of the study is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. 

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