Researchers develop blood test to detect lung cancer

Jul 31, 2006

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women in the United States and around the world, mainly because lung cancers are found in late stages and the best treatment opportunities already have been missed. In Kentucky, the incidence of lung cancer is 49 percent higher than the national rate. However, a new blood test being developed at the University of Kentucky could soon change all that.

For the past five years, Drs. Edward A. Hirschowitz and Li Zhong have led a team developing the blood test, which could potentially help detect lung cancer in early stages in people with high risk factors for developing the disease.

"Early detection of lung cancer is the key to improving survival," said Zhong, who was the lead author of a study appearing in the July issue of the Journal of Thoracic Oncology that described how the test is 90 percent accurate in correctly predicting non-small-cell lung cancer in patients years before any CT scan can detect it.

Although the researchers have received almost $1.5 million in funding for the development of the test from various sources, they recently received an additional $175,000 National Institutes of Health grant to transform the blood test into a format that real-world clinicians could easily use. And with further studies confirming the reliability of the new format, it could become the first blood test to predict cancer since the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test was introduced in the 1970s.

The multi-biomarker blood test, which works by identifying the body's own immune response to tumors, would help diagnose lung cancer at the earliest stage in those with high risk factors such as age, smoking and genetic history.

Globally, lung cancer is by far the biggest cancer killer, with 10 million people diagnosed each year. In the U.S. alone, the number of lung cancer deaths has risen for each of the past five years to nearly 164,000. The main reason for such a high fatality rate is that 85 percent of lung cancers are found in stages too advanced for best treatment opportunities, Zhong said. Half of all patients die within a year of diagnosis.

For the next two years, the UK research team will collaborate with the private biotechnology company 20/20 GeneSystems to develop the clinical application for the blood test.

"We are hoping in the next several years this test would become available to the public," Zhong said.

Source: University of Kentucky

Explore further: US experts skeptical of testosterone drug benefits

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Team uses nanoparticles to enhance chemotherapy

Jul 07, 2014

(Phys.org) —University of Georgia researchers have developed a new formulation of cisplatin, a common chemotherapy drug, that significantly increases the drug's ability to target and destroy cancerous cells.

Advancing medicine, layer by layer

Jul 02, 2014

Personalized cancer treatments and better bone implants could grow from techniques demonstrated by graduate students Stephen W. Morton and Nisarg J. Shah, who are both working in chemical engineering professor ...

Recommended for you

US experts skeptical of testosterone drug benefits

43 minutes ago

U.S. health experts say there is little evidence that testosterone-boosting drugs are effective for treating common signs of aging and large studies are needed to support their continued use in millions of American men.

France to receive first Ebola patient

47 minutes ago

France on Wednesday prepared to receive its first Ebola patient, as the World Bank warned the spiralling epidemic is threatening economic catastrophe in west Africa.

Study: Americans endure unwanted care near death

1 hour ago

Americans suffer needless discomfort and undergo unwanted and costly care as they die, in part because of a medical system ruled by "perverse incentives" for aggressive care and not enough conversation about what people want, ...

User comments : 0