TOKYO – A team of Japanese researchers says it has developed a new biopsy for colon cancer that requires taking only a tiny blood sample.
The team is led by Takahiro Ochiya, who heads the Division of Molecular and Cellular Medicine at the National Cancer Center Research Institute.
The researchers discovered that colorectal cancer cells secrete a certain type of particle into a person’s blood. The team examined blood samples from 194 people who were suffering from early stages of colon cancer, and the particles were present in half the patients, according to Japan’s (NHK WORLD) website.
The particles were not found in the blood of 191 people who had not been diagnosed with cancer.
The researchers said they have developed a method to identify the presence of the particle in less than a drop of blood in about 90 minutes.
Ochiya said the test is more accurate and less invasive than conventional exams. He said the team hopes it will be widely used during standard medical checkups sometime in the next several years.
Colon cancer is the 2nd most common type of cancer in Japan, with more than 100,000 people being diagnosed each year. Early detection is crucial to treating the disease. But the most common test, which involves taking stool samples, has been criticized as inaccurate. –QNA