World’s first blood test for brain cancer may raise survival rates

World’s first blood test for brain cancer may raise survival rates

“Surgeons and scientists have developed a world-first blood test for brain cancer that experts say could revolutionise diagnosis, speed up treatment and boost survival rates,” reports The Guardian. Despite advances in fighting other kinds of cancer, “brain tumors have remained notoriously difficult to diagnose. They affect hundreds of thousands of people worldwide each year, and kill more children and adults under the age of 40 … than any other cancer.”

But “now a research team has designed a simple blood test that could help diagnose patients with even the deadliest forms of brain cancer much more quickly, potentially sparing them from invasive and high-risk surgical biopsies….Experts said the inexpensive liquid biopsy could also lead to earlier diagnosis, which in turn would speed up treatment and potentially increase survival rates. The test would be particularly beneficial for patients with ‘inaccessible’ brain tumors, who could benefit from starting treatment as soon as possible.”

Researchers at an Imperial College brain tumor research center “found the test could accurately diagnose a range of brain tumours, including glioblastoma (GBM), the most commonly diagnosed type of high-grade brain tumour in adults, astrocytomas and oligodendrogliomas.”

“This groundbreaking research could lead to earlier diagnosis and improved outcomes for brain tumour patients,” according to the CEO of the charity Brain Tumour Research.

The Guardian says that “scientists are already planning further studies to validate the results, and if successful, patients could benefit from the new test in as little as two years.”

The blood test, known as the TriNetra-Glio blood test “works by isolating glial cells that have broken free from the tumour and are found circulating in the blood. The isolated cells are then stained and can be identified under a microscope.”

The head of the brain tumor research center at Imperial College said: “A non-invasive, inexpensive method for the early detection of brain tumors is critical for improvements in patient care. There is still some way to go, but this solution could help people where a brain biopsy or surgical resection of the tumor is not possible due to the location of the tumor or other constraints. Through this technology, a diagnosis of inaccessible tumors can become possible through a risk-free and patient-friendly blood test. We believe this would be a world first as there are currently no non-invasive or non-radiological tests for these types of tumors.”

The charity Brain Tumour Research says the advance is very important, because less than 1% of patients with glioblastoma live for more than 10 years and, for many, the prognosis is as little as a year. “The research undertaken in UK universities is world class and something we should all be proud of, but we need so much more. There is an urgent need for novel approaches, particularly in the treatment of GBM, which is fatal in most cases….It is scandalous to think that there have been no improvements to treatment options for this type of tumor in two decades and the standard of care for GBM patients – surgical resection followed by radiotherapy and chemotherapy – remains unchanged.”

Robots may also help remove brain cancers. Robots can fit in small spaces in people’s bodies that a surgeon can’t reach without cutting through living tissue.

Scientists have developed tiny robots made of human cells to repair damaged cells. Nanorobots are also being used to fight cancer. “In a major advancement in nanomedicine, Arizona State University scientists…have successfully programmed nanorobots to shrink tumors by cutting off their blood supply,” reported Next Big Future.

Doctors recently used a surgical robot to carry out incredibly complicated spinal surgery. Doctors also recently did the first robotic liver transplant in America.

Artificial intelligence is now developing highly-effective antibodies to fight disease. Doctors overseas are using artificial intelligence to detect cases of breast cancer more effectively.

LU Staff

LU Staff

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