News ID: 196628
Published: 0827 GMT July 14, 2017

Blood test help catch pancreatic cancer early

Blood test help catch pancreatic cancer early
digitaltrends.com

A new, low-cost blood test may be an effective way to detect pancreatic cancer early, a research team said.

The nation's No. 4 cancer killer, pancreatic cancer often goes undiagnosed until it is too far along to remove, UPI wrote.

Study author Kenneth Zaret, director of the University of Pennsylvania's Institute for Regenerative Medicine, said, “Current screening techniques typically catch it only after it causes pronounced symptoms, when it has advanced far enough to be lethal.

“Sometimes it's found during a body scan for another health issue. But such scans are too costly for routine screening, even for people with a high risk of pancreatic cancer.”

That includes parents, siblings or children of people who have had pancreatic cancer; those with some gene mutations; and people over 50 who suddenly develop diabetes.

Zaret added, "A low-cost, noninvasive test, such as we have developed, could be useful for routine screening of individuals who are at high risk for pancreatic cancer.”

Current screening focuses on shifting levels of tell-tale blood proteins, according to the American Cancer Society.

But such tests are considered unreliable, and the ACS does not recommend routine screening for those who are not known to be at high-risk.

Zaret's team set out to find new, reliable markers for early stage pancreatic cancer.

To begin, the researchers genetically ‘reprogrammed’ late-stage cancer cells to mimic cells at the early stage of cancer.

They identified several new cellular ‘biomarkers’ triggered by the onset of disease.

Then, the team did three rounds of testing in roughly 700 blood samples. Samples were drawn from pancreatic cancer patients (at different stages of disease) and from healthy people.

Researchers were able to diagnose early stage pancreatic cancer — with 98 percent accuracy — by screening for two of the new biomarkers they identified, called THBS2 and CA19-9.

Zaret expressed confidence in the results so far.

He said that the screening tool would, at minimum, appear to be ‘useful’ for testing people known to be at high risk for pancreatic cancer.

“It might lead to development of new, early stage treatments.

"It is noteworthy that the biomarker panel employs existing technology that is routinely available in diagnostic clinics around the country, facilitating the dissemination of the test, with further validation.”

But that validation will require a much larger study to find out whether the new approach holds up as a screening tool for the general population.

Dr. Victoria Rutson, chief medical officer for the network, based in Manhattan Beach, Calif. said, “It's important to build on the new study.

"It is imperative that we develop early detection methods to help impact the mortality of the disease.

"The results show THBS2 and CA19-9 markers may improve detection of pancreatic cancer.

"Significant progress continues to be made, and it is important to further confirm and expand upon these results with additional studies."

This year, more than 53,000 Americans will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.

   
KeyWords
 
Comments
Comment
Name:
Email:
Comment:
Security Key:
Captcha refresh
Page Generated in 0/5324 sec