News / Health

Scientists Work on Blood Test for Early Lung Cancer Detection

Jessica Berman

Scientists are developing a blood test to detect lung cancer, one of the most common and deadly cancers in the world.  The test, which looks for certain proteins in the blood, is designed to find tumors at their earliest, most treatable stage.

According to the World Health Organization, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide, claiming an estimated 1.5 million lives each year.  The disease is caused mainly by cigarette smoking.  Early detection followed by prompt treatment is essential to surviving this deadly, fast-growing cancer.  

Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in the northwestern U.S city of Seattle, Washington, report they have developed a new blood test for lung cancer proteins.  Those proteins are produced by tumor tissue early in the development of lung cancer and can be detected in plasma, a blood component that’s rich in proteins.  

The scientists say the cancer test is so sensitive, it can detect the presence of markers or signatures that suggest tumor activity before they can be seen by advanced imaging devices such as a CT scan, which can spot tumors only a few millimeters across.

According to Sam Hanash, a scientist at Fred Hutchinson. and a lead researcher on the lung cancer blood test, using CT scans to detect tiny tumors can save the lives of patients at risk of lung cancer. But he says CT screening has a down-side: a high percentage of its images reveal nodules that appear as potentially malignant tumors.

“...That necessitate surgery, that turns out to be benign and a lot of other potential complications. So there’s a need for a blood test so that we can make CT scans more reliable,” Hanash said.

Hanash says the lung cancer blood test looks for protein signatures of the disease similar to the way other cancer blood tests work, including the CA 125 test for ovarian cancer and the prostate specific antigen, or PSA, test for prostate cancer.

In initial experiments with mice, Hanash and his colleagues discovered protein markers by switching on genes that gave the animals lung cancer, and then switching off the cancer-causing genes.

Hanash says scientists next looked to see whether they could find the same cancer protein signatures in human lung cancer cells.

“And the answer was “Yes!”  So that was pretty satisfying that in fact we’re not dealing with a curiosity type of finding that only mice seem to display, but we are dealing with a real feature of cancer cells whether mice-derived or human-derived,” Hanash said.

Hanash says researchers detected protein biomarkers unique to a number of different lung tumors, as well as some of the molecular networks of genes that drive tumor development.

He says the next step is to develop a test that doctors can use with patients at risk for lung cancer, probably in about two years.

An article describing the development of a new diagnostic test for lung cancer protein signatures is published in the journal, Cancer Cell.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid