BERLIN (Reuters) – Two new blood tests could help doctors detect colon and stomach cancers simply, cheaply and early without the need for invasive procedures or unpleasant examinations, researchers said on Monday.
The tests, one developed by the Belgian biotech firm OncoMethylome and another by scientists in Germany, use blood samples to detect specific genetic signals of the disease and could help predict whether it is likely to spread.
Ernst Kuipers, a specialist in bowel cancer at Rotterdam’s Erasmus University, who was not involved in the research, said the new tests marked a promising advance in the field of developing more convenient screening.
“The blood sample can be taken by nurses or primary care doctors without the need for special equipment or training,” Joost Louwagie of OncoMethylome said.
Ulrike Stein, who presented her findings with Louwagie’s at the ECCO-ESMO European cancer congress in Berlin, said hers was the first test to be able to detect signals of a specific gene, called S100A4 and known to be linked to cancer, in the blood.
Stein’s test finds various types of cancer, including colorectal and gastric cancers, and had also shown potential in identifying patients whose cancer was likely to spread.
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