Researchers at the VUMC institute in Amsterdam have announced that a new blood test in early development will be able to detect whether a person has cancer. Currently the only way it is possible to diagnose most cancers is with scans and biopsies. However even these are not reliable as tumors need to be a certain size before they are detectable.
The researchers found that thromobocytes or blood platelets from cancer patients contain unique RNA markings which carry out DNA’s blueprint instructions for the specific tumor. Platelets are known for their coagulation of blood properties but recent studies have shown they also play a role in tumor growth and metastisis of cancer. These unique RNA patterns is what has enabled them to distinguish between healthy individuals and people with cancer with a 96% certainty.
So far studies have been carried out on over 600 patients in clinical trials, and the blood tests have been able to show not only the presence of cancer but also what type of cancer they may have. The platelet profile is also useful in determining the type of treatment that would be suit the patient and re-analysis of the blood would show if the treatment is having an effect or not.