Researchers at the U.K.’s University of Bradford say they have developed a test that can diagnose cancer with a simple blood draw.
In a recent study that looked at blood samples from more than 200 people, results showed that the test, known as the Lymphocyte Genome Sensitivity test, was highly accurate in diagnosing cancer and pre-cancerous conditions in patients with melanoma, lung cancer, and colon cancer.
The test measures damage to the DNA of white blood cells using ultraviolet light. “We found that people with cancer have DNA which is more easily damaged by ultraviolet light than other people, so the test shows the sensitivity to damage of all the DNA — the genome — in a cell,” study leader Diana Anderson explains.
The test results showed there was a noticeable difference in the level of damage among cancer cells, cells with pre-cancerous conditions, and healthy cells. There were 94 healthy patients in the study, and the test accurately diagnosed all 94 patients without cancer or pre-cancerous conditions.
Researchers hope to expand the test to diagnose all types of cancers and serve as a worldwide standard for cancer tests. It could also eliminate the need for painful and invasive procedures such as biopsies and colonoscopies.
Anderson notes that more research needs to be done, but she calls these early results “remarkable.”