Now, a revolutionary DNA test to spot cancers!
Last Updated: Sunday, March 28, 2010, 00:00

London: Scientists have developed a new
genetic test for cancer, a major breakthrough which they claim
could allow doctors to identify the hidden primary tumours and
pave the way for more effective treatment for the disease.

A team at Imperial College London has come up with the
revolutionary DNA test which will not only help patients avoid
unnecessary treatment and invasive tests, but also ensure they
get the right drug treatment earlier.

Cancer specialist Dr Harpreet Wasan, who is heading a
study of the technique, said: "This could have a major impact
on the way we diagnose and treat thousands of cancer patients
and save lives."

In fact, the test, which can give results within days,
is based on the fact that different cancers have different DNA
"fingerprints"; and patients` tissue samples will be analysed
to identify the specific types of cancer they have.

The results will then be used to identify the right
treatment drugs without invasive and time-consuming tests like
colonoscopies and other forms of endoscopies, leading British
newspaper the `Sunday Express` reported.

Earlier researches have shown that it can take up
to three months to get a cancer diagnosis by existing methods.
and many scientists are currently working with patients with
cancer of "unknown origin" that has spread.

However, Dr Wasan said that in the future the new test
can be used for all patients, and will also minimise the risk
of misdiagnosis which he believes happens in up to 15 per cent
of cancer patients.

"If tissue samples from a patient with cancerous cells
in the liver reveal the disease originated in the breast, they
should be treated with drugs for breast, not liver cancer.

"Currently it can take weeks or months to identify the
source of the cancer in patients with advanced cancer that has
spread and for some, the primary tumour is so small that it is
never discovered," he said.

Drugs that target specific blood, breast and colon
cancer cells have already been developed and more than 500
drugs which target all other cancers are on the way.

"We hope these technologies will increase the
number of people that are cured. This concept of personalised
medicine is the future of all cancer care," Dr Wasan said.


First Published: Sunday, March 28, 2010, 00:00

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