Soroka hospital and Ben Gurion University in Be’er Sheva, Israel, are developing a unique method to detect various types of cancer through a simple blood test.
Researchers say that in a first trial conducted recently, they succeeded in detecting cancer in almost 90 percent of cancer patients tested.
“This is still a research in the early stages of clinical trials,” clarifies Prof. Joseph Kapelushnik, head of the Pediatric Hemato-Oncology department at the hospital. “But the purpose is to develop an efficient, cheap and simple method to detect as many types of cancers as possible.”
Doctors say it is imperative to increase early detection of cancer in patients, before it gets to advanced stages that must be treated with a long and difficult treatment.
Scientists around the world are working to find new methods to detect cancer; artificial noses that can identify a certain substance in cancer; techniques for discovering cancer antibodies; mammography to detect breast cancer; colonoscopy and fecal occult blood testing to detect colorectal cancer, for example.
Discovering cancer before it spreads
Prof. Kapelushnik and his research partners have developed a method that detects cancer cancer with blood tests, using infrared light beams. The researchers take a small amount of blood and insert it into a device they developed. Using this device, a spectrum of infrared light is beamed through the blood, enabling the researchers to estimate whether the patient has cancer or not.
At this stage, the researchers are concentrating their efforts on the detection of common cancer types, such as lung cancer and ovary cancer. Nevertheless, they also succeeded in detecting other cancers.
In the latest clinical trial, about 200 patients with various types of cancer were examined along with a control group. “We succeeded to tell them apart with 90 percent accuracy,” says Prof. Kapelushnik. “This is still a small number patients and we need thousands of people before we can say the new method actually works. In the meantime, though, we are optimistic about the results.”