Scientists at the University of Queensland, Australia have homed in one what is being called a “universal cancer biomarker” that is easily identifiable with an inexpensive, portable test that could someday be accessed with a mobile phone. Their findings were published in the journal, Nature.
The simple blood test focuses on finding cancerous cells in the DNA after they have died off and begun circulating in the bloodstream. It’s been discovered that these particular cells have a unique structure that differs from normal, healthy cells, which is marked by clusters of methyl groups.
What researchers have found is that those clusters – exclusive to cancer cells – cling easily to gold. Therefore, the test utilizes nanoparticles of gold for detection. One drop is all it takes and if cancer is present, the nanoparticles change color.
No microscope is needed. So far, 200 samples have been tested for human cancer types and healthy cells. The test has had a 90% accuracy rate, giving researchers hope that this will lead to early detection and as a result, earlier treatment.
The majority of cancer deaths are due to late stage detection. With this new technology, who knows how many lives can be saved?
This test costs less than typical biopsies used to diagnose cancer and although it’s not yet available to the medical community, it can be a real game-changer.
What do you think about this promising news? Would you be on board with routine use of this test?