The new test is based on the principles of Lymphocyte Genome Sensitivity. It involves exposing white blood cells to UVA radiation and observing the effects as the cells become damaged. The cells from a patient with cancer, or even a person at a precancerous stage are affected in a different manner to the healthy cells. The specific part of the white blood cell that is damaged is the DNA, also known as the genome and the specific type of white blood cell is the Lymphocyte, hence the name of the test.
White blood cells are a key part of the natural defence mechanism of the body. In patients with cancer, they are under more stress because they are actively trying to combat the cancer. This results in them being weaker, and so the UVA damages them more easily than it does the white blood cells of a healthy person. They are also put under stress when targeting other diseases, so this may be one potential cause of false positive results if this test is used on a large scale.
As the test is performed on a sample of blood, it is a lot quicker and less invasive than other tests such as colonoscopies or biopsies which can involve lengthy operative procedures. It may also be cheaper to administer for these reasons.
Extracts from the abstract for the report:
“Lymphocyte responses from 208 individuals: 20 with melanoma, 34 with colon cancer, and 4 with lung cancer (58), 18 with suspected melanoma, 28 with polyposis, and 10 with COPD (56), and 94 healthy volunteers were examined.”
“Responses of patients with cancer plateaued after treatment with different UVA intensities, but returned toward control values for healthy volunteers. For precancerous conditions and suspected cancers, intermediate responses occurred.”
“This modified comet assay could represent a stand-alone test or an adjunct to other investigative procedures for detecting cancer.”
As you can see from the abstract of the report, various different types of cancers can be identified to be present using this test, however it does not cover all the different types and variants that exist. Regardless, a new tool that can help to diagnose that a cancer is present can allow doctors to start prescribing treatment early enough to potentially save the patient.
Some cancers, for example ovarian cancer, have few existing testing methods available to detect their presence. A new test like this would be very helpful in diagnosing such conditions. As is already known, the earlier something is diagnosed, the more likely it can be successfully treated, and as such, the more successful testing methods we have, the better.
For more information visit the following links
http://www.fasebj.org/content/early/2014/07/24/fj.14-254748.abstract – the full abstract for the report
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