Can a blood test detect cancer? Scientists use nanoparticles of gold for new early warning method

By | December 5, 2018

A blood test can detect cancer within just 10 minutes, scientists have found, raising hopes that hard-to-spot diseases could be picked up early when treatment is most effective.

Currently, doctors use symptoms and a range of tests and biopsies to determine if cancer is present, a process that can sometimes take months.

The new method from the University of Queensland looks for differences in the genetic code of cancerous and healthy cells. The team found that the DNA of cancer cells sticks strongly to nanoparticles of gold, giving a quick indication to the naked eye whether the disease is present or not.

Because the same changes occur in all cancerous cells, the test should work on all cancer types, the team believes. Dr. Matt Trau, a professor of chemistry, writing in Nature Communications, said: “We believe that this simple approach would potentially be a better alternative to the current techniques for cancer detection.”

Although the test cannot determine where the cancer is, or how advanced it might be, it could give doctors an early warning that disease is present.

Dr Ged Brady, from the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, said: “This approach represents an exciting step forward in detecting tumour DNA in blood samples and opens up the possibility of a generalized blood-based test to detect cancer.”

Health – National Post