A NEW blood test founded by UK researchers has been announced. The new breakthrough could change the future of blood tests as we know it.
Researchers have found a way to test samples of blood for circulating tumour DNA by looking at specific genes.
The genes they are looking for are associated with malignant and melanoma one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer.
BRAF and HRAS are harmful mutations in the genes.
These occur in 70 percent of malignant melanoma cases.
The study found that patients whose blood tested positive for these genes were more likely to see the cancer return within a year after surgery.
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The Director of the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, Professor Richard Marais said: “The problem is that melanoma incidence continues to rise across the UK.”
“There are about 15,000 across the UK and 1,700 cases in the North West.”
“About 80 percent of melanoma patients are cured by surgery so that means that about 20 percent of patients develop the most deadly form of the disease which is the spreading or malignant form.”
“The problem is we don’t know which patients are going to be cured by surgery and which patients are going to go on and develop the deadly form of the disease.”
“To try and address that we needed a test that would distinguish those patients from the others and what we have done is develop a blood test that is quite good at doing that.”
He carried on to say: “This test is still some way off being available to patients and could take another few years to develop, but it is an exciting breakthrough which could make a real difference.”
There has been overwhelming interest over this new found research Professor Marais added: “This particular piece of research has attracted global interest and so we’ve had interest from colleagues in America and Australia asking us how to do this.
“This is something we would definitely like to develop for patients as a test in the North West but also nationally as well.
“Once we’ve established that we can do this in melanoma then we can start looking at it in other disease areas to see if we can detect other cancers earlier.
“That way we will have a better outcome for patients and we will save limited NHS resources and make sure that they can be used appropriately.”
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Tim Mainwearing a Medical Student from the University of Manchester said: “It is a relatively new technique.”
“It is a quicker and more easier process to see if someone has got cancer cells within their body.”
Tim added: “A blood test is a much simpler way for both doctors and patients.
“Procedures they use now like biopsies can take weeks, even months.
“A person will be diagnosed with cancer quicker in terms of the staging process.”
To watch the full interview see below:
We also spoke to members of the public out in Salford to see what their thoughts and feelings were on it.
One of the ladies said: “I think that would be a brilliant idea”
Her husband added: “Anything like that like is fantastic.”