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Breakthrough Study: Cancer Diagnosed in Minutes with New Blood Test

Daniel Kim Views  

A study has revealed that a dried blood spot test can diagnose cancer within a few minutes. The study, published in Nature Sustainability, showed that cancer can be diagnosed within a few minutes with a sensitivity of 82~100% through a dried blood spot test.

Some types of cancer are difficult to diagnose and lack reliable blood markers. As a result, research is ongoing to use artificial intelligence (AI) to more easily diagnose cancer than before.

The research team stated that the accuracy and cost-effectiveness of the diagnostic test are crucial in the disease screening process. They emphasized the need for accurate yet affordable diagnostic tests, noting that many cancer patients in developing and impoverished areas are not adequately diagnosed due to poor medical access.

The dried blood spot test, which is cheaper and easier to collect and transport than whole blood tests and is already being used to diagnose some diseases, has challenges. During drying, substances like microRNA and proteins, commonly measured as cancer diagnostic markers, might be destroyed, and the sample amount is generally insufficient for cancer diagnosis.

Therefore, the research team developed an AI-based dried blood spot test that detects cancer-related metabolic changes. This test takes advantage of the fact that most metabolites are preserved in dried blood spot samples rather than focusing on known cancer markers.

Based on nanoparticle-enhanced laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry (NPELDI MS), their dried blood spot test could diagnose cancer with 82-100% sensitivity, superior to current whole blood tests’ 50-80% sensitivity.

The research team explained that unlike the standard whole blood test, which needs to be conducted in a cold environment to prevent sample damage, the dried blood spot test preserved samples stably in various temperatures and environments.

In addition, while the standard whole blood test is expensive and requires a time-consuming pretreatment process, the dried blood spot test can be analyzed immediately, takes up less space, and is easy to transport, saving time and money.

The team added that harmful pathogens are inactivated during the blood spot’s drying process, which is another advantage.

Currently, colon cancer screening relies on colonoscopy, and pancreatic and gastric cancer screening is conducted through CT scans and gastroscopy, respectively, all of which are expensive tests that require skilled medical personnel. As a result, the undiagnosed cancer rate in underdeveloped areas is estimated to be between 34.56% and 84.30%. However, the research team expects the newly developed dried blood spot test to increase diagnostic accuracy with local medical personnel even in environments with limited facilities. They predicted that when the dried blood spot test is introduced, the undiagnosed rates for colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, and gastric cancer would drop from 84.30% to 29.20%, 34.56% to 9.30%, and 77.57% to 57.22%, respectively.

Meanwhile, experts said the research team’s AI model has only been evaluated on a few hundred samples from already diagnosed individuals. It must be validated on thousands of patients before being used in clinical settings.

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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