Melbourne: Australian researchers have developed a revolutionary blood test to diagnose skin cancer much more quickly and efficiently than conventional methods.
The ground-breaking "liquid biopsy" test will be made available at Melbourne's Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute (ONJCRI), Victoria state's Health Minister Jill Hennessy said on Friday.
Prior to the development of the new test, melanomas could only be identified by a complex and invasive surgery, results from which could take weeks to be obtained, Xinhua news agency reported.
The blood test can provide the same information in a matter of hours from a simple blood test, potentially saving millions of lives worldwide.
Once the skin cancer has been identified via the new test, oncologists can quickly tailor the most appropriate treatment for each individual patient, potentially preventing the cancer from spreading to the bloodstream.
"We're putting cancer patients first and investing in world-leading cancer research and future technologies that have the power to save lives," Hennessy told reporters in Melbourne.
"It will mean patients can get diagnosed and treated sooner, without having to endure long and anxious waits and invasive and painful surgery."
Frank McGuire, Parliamentary Secretary for Medical Research, said the development was the latest example of Victoria's commitment to cancer research.
"This new blood test is a great example of how we are rapidly turning around breakthroughs in cancer research into clinical practice with real benefits for cancer patients," McGuire said.
In addition to diagnosing the cancer quicker the blood test can also tell doctors when a treatment will stop working, allowing them to change medications before a patient's condition starts to decline.