A breakthrough in early cancer detection

from Western Australia Today by Rachel Wong

Researchers may have just unlocked the simple key to detecting cancer early – a blood test.

With current methods including MRIs and biopsies, the University of Western Australia is developing a simple and less invasive blood test that can identify cancer traces, leaving enough time to act fast.

Researchers at UWA are working on a quick, simple and less invasive blood-based test that can detect breast cancer progression.

Project leader Dr Katie Meehan said the cancer segments, known as “exosomes”, can be identified in routine blood tests, but her research will monitor the cancer’s aggression through the exosomes.

“We hope to show that when exosomes become undetectable in the blood, this indicates the cancer is gone, or if exosomes remain in the blood, this may identify a cancer at risk of returning,” Dr Meehan said.


A simple blood test can now detect breast cancer early. Photo: Jason South

But she said the research would be most beneficial for women testing for breast cancer or breast cancer survivors.

“Currently it’s costly, time-consuming and physically draining for these women to travel to Perth for regular treatment, whereas the new test could be done by a routine pathology lab anywhere,” she said.

“It will enable cancer patients to find out at the earliest possible time whether their cancer had returned.”

Dr Meehan said developing blood-based assessments would revolutionise patient care and avoid the need for painful and invasive procedures, which was particularly relevant for women with metastatic breast cancer.

Source – WA Today

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