New research has brought forth a blood test which could potentially detect cancer. The study focused on white blood cells which were shown to have undergone damage according to the extent of exposure to ultraviolet light which might trigger cancerous growths– this could represent a yardstick to gauge cancer development. While nothing is definite yet, the results seem promising.
Blood test as effective cancer screening method
The earlier cancer is detected, the better. It is easier to tackle cancer when it is still in its early stages when the cancerous cells can be killed without added difficulty. On the other hand, when the cancer has spread considerably, or has reached the malignant stage, it becomes increasingly challenging for the experts to do away with the cancer lumps. All this depends on the screening methods which are critically important to combat cancer: the more sensitive they are, the better. A new research has been hailed as an effective way of identifying cancerous growths. A team of scientists from the University of Bradford from UK have developed a universal blood test which might be used for diagnosis. The results have shown that the blood test might even prove to be cost-effective and less time-consuming.
Lymphocyte Genome Sensitivity (LGS) test: analysing white blood cells
The study, published in The FASEB journal, involved 208 participants whose blood samples were taken. The samples were exposed to ultraviolet light of different intensities. Then, they were examined for their white blood cells. White blood cells were analysed because they form an integral part of the immune system: they are responsible for fighting off infections and other diseases, including cancer. In the presence of cancerous cells, the white blood cells increase in activity to do away with the cancer cells, and as a result, undergo greater stress than usual. The blood test known as Lymphocyte Genome Sensitivity (LGS) test was done. The researchers focused on white blood cells, thinking that the condition of the latter – the degree of damage – could indicate the progress of the cancer. The results of the tests showed that the damage done to the white blood cells differed for healthy patients, those with pre-cancerous states, and those suffering from cancer. It was found that the DNA of cancer patients is more susceptible to damage by ultraviolet light than that of healthy persons.
Results: promising but not definite
Scientists need to explore more in this direction since the results of the study are not sufficient enough to draw definite conclusions. Therefore, the LGS test cannot be used as a method of detection as yet.