Advances in methods for diagnosing cancer

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According to an article published this month in MIT Technology Review, and thanks to the latest advances in medical research, a new blood test technique may soon be offered that will allow the diagnosis of cancer in the early phase of the disease. This represents an advance in the treatment of cancer, since in most cases this disease is fatal because during the first phase the patient has no symptoms and, in many cases, when they begin to appear it is because the tumor is it has spread so far that it is too late to treat it successfully.

If doctors were able to detect a malignant tumor during the first phase, they could operate on the patient much earlier, and remove the tumor without leaving any remaining cancer cells and without resorting to chemotherapy.

Until now, the methods that do exist to analyze the existence or not of a cancerous tumor have received criticism for not being entirely reliable. Mammograms, PSA (blood test for prostate cancer) and CA-125 (blood test for ovarian cancer) tests have a high margin of error. According to David Sidransky, a researcher at John Hopkins, the PSA system is wrong in 33% of the tests and the CA-125 system in 50%.

Thanks to the latest research developed by the expert in cell biology and cancer George Wright, a new method that analyzes the structure of proteins in the blood will theoretically allow a tumor to be identified with the clarity and accuracy of a fingerprint.

It turns out that already in the first stage of a tumor, cancer distorts the structure of proteins in the blood, so the ability to monitor this structure and detect any abnormality is a discovery. According to Technology Review, the first tests of this type are already being carried out in people to detect cancer of the ovaries while other tests are being developed for prostate, lung, breast, kidney, liver, lymphatic and leukemia cancers.

In the future, perhaps with just a drop of blood, it will be possible to do tests for all types of cancer and to drastically reduce the deaths caused by this disease.

Video: Advances in Cancer Surgery: Making Tumors Glow


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