For this, it is essential to provide tests that allow early detection of cancer without the need of a tissue sample, and thus drastically improve the prognosis of the patients and their chance of a cure. Currently established cancer diagnostics either identify the disease too late or are unreliable, resulting in false positives, which can unsettle patients.
For instance, measuring PSA-levels for prostate cancer detection and mammographies for breast cancer prevention can provide false positive results without acute malignancies being found. Additionally, currently no blood test is available for oral cancer.
A novel blood test for the detection of cancer has been clinically assessed in a collaborative study between the university hospital Tuebingen, the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, and the Clemenshospital of the university hospital muenster. This blood test utilizes the immune system; specifically the activity of macrophages, a type of white blood cell that scavenges tumor cells.
Using laser-based detection methods of tumor material within these scavenger cells, also known as EDIM (epitope detection in monocytes)-technology, it is now possible to discover the presence of tumor cells in small blood samples. This has allowed the early detection of oral, prostate, and breast cancer as well as relapses in patients by the EDIM-technology. Thus, this technology is also suitable for monitoring therapeutic efficacy. The results of this study represent an important hallmark in cancer detection, driven by the improved accuracy of the EDIM-blood test compared to previously established test methodologies.
Dr. Ellen Katz | idw
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